Your flu risk really depends on where you live or work, according to the results of a recent study.
This is important information for you to know as the flu season has started in the United States. There already are reported cases from around the country. Technically everyone is at risk of developing the flu, but this study found that living in certain areas of a city can influence your flu risk.
The study, was published on bioRxiv, a database for “preprints” of articles not yet published by a peer-reviewed journal. The researchers found that people who live near a large commerce or job hub were at the biggest risk of getting the flu. Living there is the key to increase the risk — whereas just commuting to it — lowers your risk.
Living near a busy commercial area or job zone is tricky because people (and their germs) come from all over to those areas.
While commuters leave at the end of the day, people who live in those areas still regularly go to stores, restaurants, and public facilities that may have been infected with flu germs, increasing the odds they’ll come into contact with those germs.
Flu Risk: Location Increases Risk
Researchers realized location might be the key variable when on a bus and noticed that everyone who was on the bus got off at the hospital, which probably meant they were sick.
They realized they just spent 30 minutes trapped in a metal box with a bunch of sick people.
Regardless of where you live, it’s important to lower your odds of getting the flu. You can do that by getting your flu shot each year and practice good hand hygiene.
Not only living or working in congested areas will increase your risk — so too will visiting. The fact is, the more contact with people, the more likely you will pick up a communicable disease.
Flu prevention methods is your first and best line of defense. Clean your hands and try to avoid people who appear to be sick. And, of course, getting your flu shot can help lower the odds you’ll actually get the flu. The shot also lowers your chance to develop serious complications, if you do get the flu.
Stay safe, get the flu shot.