Keeping yourself healthy all year long is important for a beauty industry professional. This is even more so during flu season. There are many varieties of the flu, and the virus is constantly changing. It’s important to research vaccine options as a practitioner to keep clients safe. With the rise of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to know the signs, symptoms, and sounds of the flu. Every year the guidelines, information, and defense against the flu change. It is important to stay updated, safe, and healthy.
In order to have protection from the flu, one must know what it is and how best to defend against it. According to Carol DerSarkissian, “Flu or influenza, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses.” These viruses can be characterized by muscle aches and pains, headache, and the most well-known symptom — fever. The main entry point for these viruses is the mucous membranes, namely the eyes, nose, and mouth. So, if COVID-19 taught society anything, the best way to prevent getting sick is to wash hands frequently and thoroughly. The incubation period of the flu is one to four days and can last for up to 14 days. There are three different types of flu virus, A (most common), B (less common), and C (least common). There are different symptoms ranging from severe to mild – A and B are responsible for the annual flu that webmd.com says is responsible for up to 200,000 hospitalizations and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths. The symptoms include, muscle pain, dry or wet cough, congestion or a runny nose, whole body chills, dehydration, and the list goes on. Whereas, type C has milder symptoms like mild respiratory issues. Get educated on these symptoms, as it is a matter of public safety.
Due to the mutation of the flu year-to-year, vaccines are also updated season-to-season. For this reason, if an individual decides to receive inoculation, it’s important to do so with each new strain of the new year. As the mutation of the flu virus replaces the old, it renders last year’s vaccine ineffective.
Doing the research on which would be better for you is extremely important. Vaccines have antibodies that protect from infection and develop in as little as two weeks. With such a short incubation period, it’s vital to be protected prior to the flu season. According to the Center for Disease Control, it’s recommended to vaccinate prior to September and October (flu season). Even with COVID-19 concerns, the Center for Disease Control did not recommend vaccinating sooner. Therefore, the time is now to compile research and decide.
Whether or not you’ve decided to get a flu shot this year, it’s always important to keep your spa spic-and-span to prevent transmission from client-to-client. Spa owners should always be vigilant in infection control, but during flu season, it is crucial to be on high alert. COVID-19 has encouraged people to embrace universal precautions and it will only aid spas to continue with those precautions. Focus on the typical hot spots in most work environment, such as hard surfaces like a reception desk, commonly touched surfaces like a doorknob or light switch, and most everything in the patient room. If an infected person (or assumed infected) has touched it, it will need to be disinfected and potentially sterilized. It is always best practice to wear a mask if you feel even the slightest of symptoms to protect clients and the area. Wear and change gloves frequently to lower the spread of flu viruses. If needed, sneeze into your elbow and regularly wash those hands thoroughly. It’s important to review these guidelines with clients and staff and encourage anyone who is experiencing even light symptoms to reschedule when they’re feeling better. It is the job of the spa owner to keep themself, the clients, and the treatment area safe. Now is the time to be vigilant and always up to date.
Although the flu may mutate, the guidelines may change, and the flu vaccine may be updated every year, it’s important to always be aware of how those changes affect a skin professional’s infection control strategy. With three different types of flu, a variety of vaccine options, and gloomy statistics, it’s imperative to do the research as an individual. Practitioners need to protect themselves, along with protecting their clients. There are many ways to slow and potentially prevent the spread of any flu viruses, so always be sure to include the Center for Disease Control guidelines for proper infection control and universal precautions in the practice. The time to protect against this year’s flu is now.
Brittany Facio is a Phoenix-based educator-turned-business development manager, she is passionate about how proper aesthetics education and sophisticated protocol implementation can create business-changing revenue. As a business development manager, she is responsible for not only educating her clients on skin care products and protocols, both on an individual basis and in regional training seminars, but also for providing marketing, merchandising, and branding assistance to generate leads and capture a new audience. When she is not working, Facio can be found enjoying play time with her family and Havanese rescue, Spruce, trying a new dinner recipe, and binge-watching comedies on Netflix.