Minding your Manners During Flu Season

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By Anna Post

Knowing appropriate flu etiquette is an important step in preventing flu transmission. Why? Because no one wants to spread the flu to others.

The flu is highly contagious. The virus itself can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours. This is why it is important that when flu symptoms, such as fever, aches and chills, hit, one must remember their flu etiquette:

  • Be proactive. Protect yourself from seasonal influenza by getting vaccinated every year.
  • Lend a helping hand. Keep hand sanitizer and tissues with you at all times. If you end up with a cougher or sneezer next to you, just ask them to protect others by offering a tissue or spritz of alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Share space, not the flu. Flu is highly contagious. Covering sneezes and coughs is a good habit all year round, especially during flu season. The flu virus can spread up to six feet away from coughing, sneezing, or even just talking.
  • Hands down—the way to go. It’s classic good manners to keep your hands below your shoulders when in public. The idea is to avoid touching your face, which may also help keep you from getting sick after rubbing your nose, mouth or eyes with unclean hands.
  • Be informed and show concern. Flu may be treatable with prescription flu medicines. If someone near you is exhibiting signs of the flu – fever, aches, chills, tiredness – encourage them to see a doctor quickly.  Don’t feel uncomfortable. Just tell them, “I’m worried about you. I think you should see a doctor.”

With everyone minding their flu manners this season, we can help fight flu and limit spreading the virus. For more flu manners tips and quizzes, search FluFacts on Facebook.

Anna Post is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and a co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette (William Morrow, October 2011). She is also the co-author of Great Get-Togethers (William Morrow, 2010), and the author of Mr. Manners: Lessons from Obama on Civility (Andrews McMeel, 2010), Do I Have To Wear White? Emily Post Answers America’s Top Wedding Questions (Collins, 2009), and Emily Post’s Wedding Parties (Collins, 2007). 

A modern etiquette expert, Anna covers topics ranging from green weddings and business etiquette to politics and pop culture. A regular contributor to Reuters, Anna conducts business etiquette seminars across the country, working with clients such as Emerson Process, Walgreens, BAE Systems, The National Insitutes of Health, Caltech, and Dartmouth College. 

Anna is a popular source for media outlets such as USA Today, The New York Times, the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, BBC.com, and Real Simple, and has appeared on The Today Show, The Early Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, FOX and Friends, and NPR.

Anna worked previously for the Motion Picture Association of America and in the Washington, D.C., office of Senator Patrick Leahy. A graduate of Phillips Academy and the University of Vermont, she currently lives in Burlington, Vermont.

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