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Hum Bug: The Flu is the Holiday Gift No One Wants to Receive

Is influenza on your gift list this year?

December is typically the height of the flu season and holiday parties can be a swap meet for pathogens. Holiday hugs, handshakes and conversations may include germs that will make you sick. If you are attending or hosting a party this season, you need to know how to keep your guests, family and yourself safe from infection.

“The holidays are the most social time of the year, and when people get together, germs come along too,” said Steve Zimmerman, director of healthcare services for ServiceMaster Clean. His company specializes in cleaning hospitals, offices and schools, so they are experts in infection control.

“You can’t eliminate the pathogens people may carry with them, but there are many things you can do to protect yourself and others from contamination,” he noted. “A little knowledge can help prevent a lot of illness this time of year.”


  • Hand hygiene.Wash often and thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Also use hand sanitizer frequently and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Get a flu shot.Be aware that flu vaccines may take up to two weeks to be effective, so be inoculated well before the holiday parties begin.
  • Be careful of high-touch hot zones.Some surfaces (kitchen counters, doorknobs, bathroom faucets, etc.) are touched by lots of people. Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for days, some bacteria for weeks! If you are hosting an event, clean hard surfaces thoroughly with a disinfectant cleaner. If you are attending an event, be aware of what you touch and practice hand hygiene.
  • Avoid close encounters.流感病原体可以通过空气丢弃的水滴传播。靠近近距离的流感载体可以让你生病。保持距离。如果您正在打喷嚏和咳嗽,请考虑留在家。如果您在参加活动时打喷嚏或咳嗽,请使用“咳嗽礼仪” - 覆盖嘴和鼻子,并使用您立即抛弃的一次性组织。
  • Drinking-glass roulette.Cups and glasses sometimes get misplaced or confused at parties. If you are unsure, get a new cup.
  • Toys and games are not always fun.Toys can be teaming with pathogens if handled by people who are ill. Hand hygiene is essential if you or your kids are passing around toys, games or gift items.
  • Mistletoe.Forget about it! Blow them a kiss instead.

Be aware of these seven hygiene tips and you’ll likely have a much happier, healthier holiday season.


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