Anyone who has had the flu will agree just how awful it is. Nursing a sore throat, runny nose, fever and a pounding headache all at once is no laughing – or should I say, sneezing (pardon the pun) – matter. But jokes aside, influenza is one illness which must not be taken lightly.
While many recover from it in one to two weeks’ time, some people from high-risk groups like the elderly end up developing life-threatening complications including asthma and pneumonia. The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that during influenza season, approximately 90% of flu-related deaths occur in those aged 65 and above. But the elderly aren’t the only ones affected; children are also high on the list. Statistics show that influenza causes more child hospitalizations than any other vaccine-preventable disease.
Doing our best… or are we?
Most of us are aware of the flu and just how harmful it can be, so much so that we try minimizing our risk of infection. Lathering on hand sanitizers to wearing facemasks to wiping down faucets, door knobs and other parts of our homes – we have done them all. Or have we, actually?
It is crucial to have our homes flu-proof but what about our cars? Just like homes, cars are also a great breeding ground for germs. Think about it, we spend a considerable amount of time in our cars traveling from this place to that; we even eat and drink in there; unknowingly, we have had our hands all over its surfaces (door handles, radio buttons etc).
In light of this, we have come up with a list of tips to help you prevent your car from becoming a germ-teeming petri dish of sorts.
The wipe down.
Wiping down your car’s steering wheel, window switches, dashboard and seatbelts with sanitizing wipes is a must considering how frequently you and your passengers come in contact with these surfaces. But as tempting as it may be to wash harness straps in the washing machine, don’t. The force will ruin their fiber strength and fire retardant properties. Also, stay away from harsh chemicals like bleach as they might damage your vehicle’s interior. Mild soaps and damp cloths are fine, though.
Wipes aside, remember to stock up on tissues. Encourage your kids to sneeze or cough into tissues instead of into their bare hands or worse, right in someone else’s face.
There’s no better germ breeding ground than a car strewn with rubbish so always bin your trash. It can be as simple as using a makeshift plastic bag for a car litter bag and throwing it away (along with your food wrappers, used tissues and all) at the end of each day. If you are willing to splurge a bit, purchase a proper car litter bag. There are ones with spill-proof liners (no more spillages on your car upholstery) and cinch tops (goodbye, malodours!).
Hand-washing is crucial for stopping the spread of germs but when you find yourself in the car with no running water and soap in sight, make do with some hand sanitizer instead. Whether it’s pumping petrol, snacking or sneezing, sanitizing your hands afterwards is important.
Get a shot!
Flu shots, to be exact. While keeping your car spick and span goes a long way, vaccination is your best insurance against the flu virus. In fact, a quadrivalent flu vaccine was recently developed to offer enhanced protection against influenza. So, don’t delay. See your doctor today and get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated!
Car Pro. Available at www.carprousa.com
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at www.cdc.gov/flu
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com