The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention division of hygiene suggests that 80 percent of infectious disease is transmitted by touch. The Naval Health Research Center says that washing hands properly five times per day can decrease the incidence of respiratory disease by 45 percent. These are important pieces of information when you consider that the influenza virus can live on a surface for two to eight hours (depending on environmental factors).
We all know the best way to prevent the flu is by vaccination. But there are other methods you can employ to decrease your chances of getting sick. As stated before, washing your hands properly five times per day is helpful, but think about the number of surfaces you touch in between those washings. So remember not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Next, do your best to disinfect commonly touched surfaces. You can use chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and iodine as effective means of cleansing, but they must be used in the right concentration for the proper length of time to be effective. Always follow label directions.
Eating healthy is another major factor in disease prevention. Your diet should emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and keep to a minimum saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars. And don't forget to keep the calories within the daily requirements.
Finally, moderately intense exercise is recommended for 30 minutes to 60 minutes five times per week. This will not only help reduce stress, a potential pre-disposing factor to illness, but also help boost your immune system.
Novel H1N1 vaccine is now available to all Department of Defense civilians at the Occupational Medicine clinic, Building 249. For more details please call (801) 777-1163.
For additional information, please contact the 75th Medical Group Public Health Office at (801) 586-9665.
More information can always be found through the CDC link at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccinations are mandatory for all active duty and available for TriCare beneficiaries. Come to the 75th Medical Group Immunization Clinic. Call (801) 777-5209 for specific hours of operation.