Hand washing key to avoiding flu

Many St. Louis area hospitals are overwhelmed with flu sufferers this winter. People living and working in close quarters with large numbers of other people, such as those at Washington University, are at higher risk. How can you protect yourself from getting sick?

“One of the most important steps to take is to wash your hands often,” said Alan I. Glass, M.D., director of the Habif Health and Wellness Center on the Danforth Campus. “Practicing good hygiene is vital to staying healthy this time of year.”

Other tips include:

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough

• As much as possible, avoid close contact with people who are ill

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids

Also, it is not too late for students to get a flu shot, said Glass. Shots are available at the Habif Health and Wellness Center for $10 and are open only to students and spouses/partners covered by the WUSTL student health insurance plan. No appointment is necessary.

Danforth Campus students who suspect they may have the flu are encouraged to call the health center at 935-6666 or visit shs.wustl.edu so they can be evaluated for complications of influenza and prescribed antiviral medication if necessary.

Medical school students should call the School of Medicine’s student health services at 362-3523.