Friday, February 1, 2013

Keep germs on the bench during the big game!

Super Bowl XLVII is this coming weekend and people everywhere will be gathering at parties to watch the game. With cases of influenza and norovirus illness spreading across the country, the American Red Cross has steps people can take to avoid getting sick if their plans include watching the big game at a party.

The norovirus is more contagious than the flu and spreads mainly through direct contact with someone who is infected. It also spreads through contaminated food, water and surfaces. The norovirus can survive and remain on hard surfaces for weeks.

If someone has the flu, they can infect others a day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after they become ill. People with the flu can spread the illness to others as far as six feet away by droplets spread when coughing, sneezing or talking or left on a surface.
So one of the most important things you can do is stay home if you are ill or someone in your household is sick. While it’s hard to miss the party, people should act responsibly and stay home to avoid spreading illness.

One of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands properly, especially after using the bathroom or when preparing food. For visibly soiled hands, first wash with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:
Wash with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
Continue to rub until the product dries.

 Other steps to avoid getting sick include:
  • Hosts should use plastic cups or provide a way for people to identify their drinks. People shouldn’t let anyone else drink out of their glass.
  • Give every dish a utensil for serving, including those snack dishes like nuts, pretzels, etc. This allows people to spoon out their portion instead of reaching in with their hands.
  • Do not share food. Avoid anything that involves sticking your hands into a bowlful of food.
  • Hosts should also make sure there is plenty of soap in the bathroom. Instead of the usual pretty hand towel, this year use disposable hand towels or a roll of paper towels.
  • If you plan to host a party and someone in your household becomes ill, move your event to a different location.
  • When greeting friends and family, avoid the usual kisses and handshakes.

You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting

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