By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Avoiding the flu is a big focus for millions who haven’t gotten sick yet.
The best advice is to wash your hands more frequently, get a flu shot and if you’re sick stay home. But there are other things.
Sick people are everywhere, coughing and sneezing, potentially spreading the flu virus.
And health officials warn germs can spray just like spray paint, traveling far and fast.
“That spray goes across the room, sometimes 10, 12, 14 feet,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, an Emergency Room Specialist.
And experts say the virus can live for days, and nestle in to some unsuspected places.
“Think about what you’re touching when you’re out in environments out in the public,” said Dr. Jones.
The things we use in our day to day lives have the greatest potential to be germ carriers.
“So as you’re handing dollar bills back and forth to people. If you’re touching hand rails. Ya know you need hand rails for safety for example on an escalator but just keep in mind that hand rail may have been touched by someone who had the flu just a minute or two before,” said Dr. Jones.
You touch the rail and then your face, boom you’ve been exposed to the flu. Some other things that can easily spread the flu virus include light switches, refrigerators, and phones, even public benches and shopping carts.
In restaurants, condiments, tables, chairs and menus tend to be the germiest, according to experts.
“Hadn’t really thought about that actually,” said Laura Bartlett, a mother. Having three kids, Laura says she always tries to be more diligent during flu season.
“I try not to touch certain things, like ya know elevators and stuff you always use the elbow or ya know. I don’t know I wipe everything down as much as I can,” said Laura.
Antibacterial spray can kills germs on flat surfaces. And it’s not too late to get a flu shot. In fact there’s a free, walk-in vaccine clinic tomorrow in Delaware County, by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. It’s taking place on the Penn State Brandywine campus, in the Tomezsko Classroom Building from 10am-1pm.
For more information visit our flu resource guide.