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Five Ways to Stop the Flu in its Tracks

Flu season seems to be hitting everyone hard and, for my family, this year has been no exception. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, understands what a hardship the flu can have on families and is offering up five ways to stop the flu in its tracks today on the blog. Take a look…

Five Ways to Stop the Flu in its Tracks

stop the flu

The flu epidemic has hit our nation hard this year. Unfortunately, the Kansas City area was not spared. As caregivers, we are often hit the hardest when illness enters our homes.  There is no way to completely germ-proof our homes, but there are a few things we can do (besides washing our hands).

#1 Disinfect Common Surfaces

Sure, we all wipe down our counters when we clean the kitchen.  But there are a few places that even the tidiest of moms could forget about.  For instance, wiping down the refrigerator door handle should become a common practice.  Every person in my house has their fingerprints on that surface.  The same goes for door knobs, and cabinet door handles.  Electronic devices are another place where germs might be passed amongst siblings.  Disinfect phones and other handheld devices.  Wipe down those video game controls and the TV remote while you’re at it.  Use the dishwasher to disinfect silverware and cups if you have one.  If not, tossing a little bleach in the dishwater might not be a bad idea.

#2 Take it Outside

Wastebaskets fill up fast when someone in the household is sick.  Take the garbage out as often as necessary, and don’t just empty it all in the big waste basket.  Tie it up in plastic and place it in a bin away from the house.  So many of these illnesses are airborne.  One misplaced tissue could cost you a week’s work of down time.

#3 Keep Remedies in Stock

Many pharmacies are sold out of common flu and cold remedies now.  It’s a good idea to pick some up if you see it, even if no one is sick at the moment.  I’ve heard tales of parents driving to 3-4 different pharmacies trying to find medication.   If over-the-counter medications will work to soothe your ailing loved ones, absolutely take advantage of them.

#4 Stay Away From Sick People

It seems obvious, but the best way to not get the flu is to stay away from people who have the virus.  The CDC and every health agency in the world is screaming at people to stay home if they are sick.  As a caretaker, if you have to care for someone who is fighting the illness, wear a mask and gloves and whatever protective gear you can find.  Don’t share food or drinks with sick kiddos, no matter how badly the toddler tries to feed you some of her Cheerios.

#5 Don’t Ignore Symptoms

If you think you might be sick, go to the doctor.  Early detection and treatment are extremely important when fighting the flu.

Stay healthy.  People are counting you.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

Like so many of you, my family has been battling the flu lately. Whether you’re dealing with the common cold or full blown influenza, it’s important to disinfect to prevent the spread during cold flu season. Don’t forget to disinfect your tech! Expert Burton Kelso is here to help with 4 steps to make sure your devices are cleaned and ready to go. Take a look…

4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

4 Steps to Disinfect Your Tech During Cold & Flu Season

Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

Cold and Flu season is here with a vengeance. We are in the midst of a flu epidemic and many experts predict it hasn’t reached it’s peak.   Public health experts recommend you stick the basic steps to avoid the flu such as washing your hands, getting a flu shot, and disinfecting surfaces you touch on a regular basis.  One of the most ignored surfaces we touch are our smartphones and our keyboards.  We place our smartphones on many surfaces (such as the bathroom counter) that can have many forms of bacteria and viruses. If you come in contact with people day to day, what are the chances you wash your hands every time you sit down at a keyboard? How can you protect yourself? Follow these simple steps to keep your phone and other gadgets clean during cold and flu season.

The most common way that the flu is spread is from person- to- person contact, as well as from dirty hands that come in contact with your face, eyes, nose and mouth. These areas are points of entry for the flu virus. Did you know the average person touches their face up to 16 times per hour? Even more disturbing is that if you don’t clean your smartphone, computer or laptop keyboard on a regular basis, it can contain more germs than a toilet?  Now you can see the concern. Here’s what you can do:

#1 Use cleaning products designed for technology

You don’t want to use harsh cleaning chemicals on your devices, including water. Remember these are delicate gadgets. While you can use Anti-bacterial wipes on your computer keyboard, you want to avoid using them on your smartphone. They are very abrasive and can leave scratches on your phone. My suggestion is to run to the store and get Wireless Wipes (www.wirelesswipes.com) or the Tech Armor Cleaning Kit (www.techarmor.com)  These handy wipes are guaranteed to keep your smartphone and tablet germ free.

#2 Make Your Own Cleaning Solution To Clean Your Devices

If you want save a few pennies, you can create your own mixture using You could also make your own cleaning solution using a 50-50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and distilled water. When wiping down the surface of your keyboard, smartphone or tablet, always use a microfiber cloth.  Never use paper towels or other standard cleaning clothes.

#3 Get Some Tech that Will Clean Your Tech

If you want a high tech solution for sanitizing your phone, consider the PhoneSoap Charger (www.phonesoap.com).  This device will make your smartphone and tablets germ free and charge them all at the same time. It might be a little pricey, but PhoneSoap will also clean things such as keys, credit cards and watches.

#4 Get a Cover that Will Minimize Germs on your gadgets

Use a surface cover or case for your smartphone or tablet that has antimicrobial protection.  One of the best products you can get is from BioArmor (www.bioarmortech.com). These products offer 24/7 protection from the germs your tablet and smartphone encounter.

Some more things to consider during cold and flu season:

  1. Do not share Smartphone with others.  If you do, wash your hands before handling your device or use a hand sanitizer to kill germs.
  2. Keep your smartphone out of the hands of your children. You take the risk of infecting your child and they can be can be a major factor for spreading the flu to you |
  3. Consider using your phone ‘hands-free’ or use ear buds for phone conversations.

Following these tips can help keep you and your family safe from germs during cold and flu season.

Do you have tips to disinfect your tech devices, drop me a line and let me know. Please share this information with everyone.

Check in with Integral on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin , YouTube and Google+ for more tips on helping you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or office.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

I’m Burton Kelso and I’m a Kansas City based Tech Expert and the Chief Technology Expert at Integral, providing on-site and remote support for computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, printers, and any device that connects to the internet. I regularly appear as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 

 


How to Battle the Dreaded Flu Season

Happy First Day of Spring! It may seem like you’re out of the woods when it comes to the flu, but it can still rear it’s ugly head. There are a ton of myths when it comes to the flu, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, is helping us to debunk some of those myths and keep us healthy as we round up the season! Check it out…

How to Battle the Dreaded Flu Season

 

How to Battle the Dreaded Flu Season

 

I am in marketing. Part of my job is to handle marketing for a rapid identification test for the flu. Needless to say this is my active time of the year to collect feedback from our customers so I can strategize (read the crystal ball) for next year’s flu season. Chances are if you have been to the doctor recently to have a test to see if you have the flu it has been (or at least I hope it has been) the product that I handle. This year has been particularly fun, okay maybe not for the millions of you that have fallen to the dreaded flu bug, but for me when the year starts off slow and then ramps up after Christmas it really gives me some great fodder for why customers should purchase early next year instead of waiting!

But back to you. Typically the flu season begins in November and ends anywhere from March to May. We start to see peaks beginning as early as Christmas time (imagine all those germs in one tiny house and you are too busy to wipe them away!) but in the case of this year, we started seeing the season really get started after the new year. And it hit hard and fast! People seeing their doctor for flu-like symptoms has been above average for about 2 months now, in actuality this is the highest it has been in February for the past 4 years!

Obviously the best way to guard against the flu is the getting the flu shot. But that requires an added trip to the doctor, additional co-pays and let’s face it no one loves getting shots. No more excuses! No more do you need to make an appointment with your doctor to get this shot either; a simple run to the grocery store to pick up milk and on the way out stop by the in-store pharmacy. The cost, even out of pocket is not all that expensive and could help save personal days off work and all around feeling awful down the road. As for the pain—not much I can say about that, especially when the only way the vaccine is administered this year is through a needle. A quick pinch and you can have ice cream after!

There are lists of other “myths” about the flu and flu vaccine that have a tendency to come around about this time of year. Here is your ammunition for stopping these myths in their tracks!

#1 Isn’t it too late to get the shot now?

Absolutely not, better late than not at all and since we see the number of cases still rising it wouldn’t be the worst thing for anyone to do.

#2 I always get sick after getting the vaccine, this is why I never get it!

The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can’t transmit an infection. If you got sick it was probably just that cold virus that has been trying to break through for a couple weeks now. Keep in mind that the protection from the flu vaccine is not instantaneous; it usually takes about a week or two to get into your system, hence why you aren’t sick from the vaccine.

#3 I got a shot early last year, I won’t need another one.

The virus mutates every year, it gets wise to your vaccinated ways and decides to throw something else at you. Luckily for us there is a happy little team at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or WHO (World Health Organization) which monitors where the flu is at any specific time and place in the world. So they have a pretty good idea as to which one will hit each year which is why the vaccine changes from season to season.

#4 Old Wives’ Tale: Feed a cold and starve a fever

With any illness you need fluids above all else. Whether or not you eat is really up to you but with a sore throat and stuffy head; chances are you probably aren’t going to feel like eating too much. Old Wives’ tale: Chicken Soup will heal anything. Maybe just in your head but chicken soup doesn’t have any more healing ingredients than I do in magic kisses to my child’s forehead. But both of those are sure make anyone feel better. Keep this one around—you are already feeling miserable, a little chicken soup can’t hurt anything!

And finally my favorite!

#5 When you are diagnosed with the flu it is time to get the antibiotics

The flu is a virus—ultimately the only thing that will work for this is rest and fluids. Getting an antibiotic won’t cure the flu and most of the time people are probably referring to an antiviral like Tamiflu or Relenza. Keep in mind these antivirals are most effective within 48 hours of the first onset of symptoms—most of us have leftovers in the fridge that are older than that. Still, if taking the antivirals make you “feel better” fine and this may have effects in later stages of the flu and keep away any other viral infections that could come from complications from the flu. Honestly if you can rest is the absolute best thing for you!

Common symptoms can act like a really bad cold. In fact 20%-30% of people carry the flu virus and will have no symptoms. Let that resonate as you hear someone down the hall sneeze, imagine them wiping their nose on their hand or arm and then touching your door to come and talk with you! Terrifying isn’t it! All we can do is make sure we try and stay as far away from the flu as possible; wash your hands whenever you can, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then throw the tissue away. Be cautious to those that are sick around you, if you are one of those sick then please stay indoors and don’t be the person spreading those germs! Stay well, before you know it we will be complaining of summer weather and the flu bug will be a thing of the past…until October!

 

From iFamily to Yours,