Millions of people will gather at parties this weekend to watch the football game of all football games. With cases of influenza widespread across most of 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.
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.
WASH YOUR HANDS 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 a pretty hand towel, 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.
- Study these food safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Celebrate game day safely – don’t drink and drive. Check out more safety information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.