Protect Yourself from the Flu and RSV this Season
How Hand Sanitizer, Vaccines, and Good Hand Hygiene Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick
By: Richard Rich
As the flu and RSV season persists this year, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and others from these potentially serious illnesses. One simple but effective way to reduce your risk of getting sick is by using hand sanitizer regularly.
The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system, including the nose, throat, and lungs. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, chills, body aches, cough, and fatigue. In some cases, the flu can lead to serious complications like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. The CDC estimates that since October 1, there have already been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4500 deaths from flu. Flu hospital admissions reported through HHS’s hospital surveillance system, which were already high for this time of year, have nearly doubled during the last reporting period. Compared to the week prior, hospitalizations for flu continue to be the highest we have seen at this time of year in a decade, demonstrating the significantly earlier flu season we are experiencing.
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a respiratory infection that primarily affects infants and young children. It can cause symptoms like the common cold, such as runny nose, cough, and fever. In some cases, RSV can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which can require hospitalization. RSP continues to remain high nationally with variations and activity levels regionally. In the United States, it typically sends an average of 58,000-80,000 kids under the age of 5 to the hospital each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infants are most at risk for hospitalization with RSV around two and a half months of age, when their lungs are still developing. RSV can also be dangerous for adults over the age of 65, resulting in an average of 60,000-120,000 hospitalizations per year in the US.
Both the flu and RSV are highly contagious and can be spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. They can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
To protect yourself and others from the flu and RSV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking the following steps:
Get a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu and can reduce your risk of getting sick by up to 60%. It’s especially important for people who are at high risk of complications from the flu, including young children, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. Pfizer and GSK have reported successful phase III results for RSV vaccines tested in adults over the age of 60, with efficacy rates of 85.7% and 94.1%, respectively, at preventing severe disease.
Practice good hand hygiene. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is the best way to remove germs and prevent the spread of infections. If soap and water are not available, using hand sanitizer can help kill germs on your hands.
One hand sanitizer that can be particularly effective at killing germs is I.C. Hand Sanitizing Cream. This cream is designed to kill 99.99% of germs on contact, and is gentle on the skin, making it ideal for frequent use.
Many hand sanitizers on the market contain alcohol, which can be drying and irritating to the skin. This can lead to cracks and breaks in the skin, which can increase the likelihood of germs entering the body and causing infection. I.C. Sanitizing Cream is an alcohol-free hand sanitizing product that uses benzalkonium chloride as its active ingredient. In addition to this, it also contains shea butter, sunflower butter, and a variety of extracts and vitamins to help cleanse bacteria and nourish the skin. The inclusion of dimethicone as a skin barrier helps to protect and lubricate the skin, reducing the chances of dryness and cracking. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who frequently wash and sanitize their hands, as repeated hand washing can lead to skin irritation and dryness. Overall, I.C. Sanitizing Cream is designed to provide effective sanitization while also nourishing and protecting the skin.
As we navigate this flu and RSV season, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and others from these potentially serious illnesses. In addition to using hand sanitizer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccine and practicing good hand hygiene to reduce your risk of getting sick. Additionally, washing your hands regularly with soap and water is the best way to remove germs and prevent the spread of infections. If soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-free hand sanitizer like I.C. Hand Sanitizing Cream can help kill germs on your hands. By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself and others from the flu and RSV.