Stay Healthy During the Sneeze and Sniffles Season
The cold weather brings with it a season of smiles, the first snowfalls and unfortunately, cold and flu outbreak. While everyone else is suffering, there are ways you can try and make it through the season unscathed.
Considering there is no cure for the common cold and flu viruses, prevention remains a person’s best option at fending off the cold and flu. There are different precautions to take that can help protect you against getting sick or at least reduce the frequency and severity with which cold and flu’s can strike.
So until there is a magic pill, here are a few ways to improve your odds:
1. Wash Your Hands the Right Way: Washing your hands frequently remains the single best way to keep viruses and bacteria that can make you sick from infiltrating the body. Washing your hands at least 20 seconds can effectively remove any dirt, grime and invisible invaders.
2. Skip Anti-bacterial Products: Because colds and the flu are the result of viruses, which are different in behavior and structure from bacteria, they will not be killed off with the use of antibacterial products. What you may succeed in doing is killing off any beneficial bacteria on your hands as well as creating resistant bacteria that form with over-use of antibiotics and antibacterial products.
3. Get the Flu Shot: There is no vaccination to prevent the common cold, but there are immunizations that can help reduce your risk of getting the flu or help minimize its severity. Doctors’ offices, clinics and even pharmacies all offer annual flu shots, with most starting in the late fall.
4. Use Sanitizer Around Home Items & Surfaces: Surfaces that are frequently touched by all members of the household should be wiped down with a disinfectant product. A bleach-and-water solution is an effective sanitizer. Surfaces to sanitize include phones, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, computer keyboards, faucets, toys and countertops. (If you have pets, check the labels prior to using or check with your Vet's office for the right sanitizing agents that are safe for animals or your specific type.)
5. (Although sounding obvious) Avoid Sick People: KidsHealth.org states that flu viruses and colds can travel up to 12 feet (from a sneeze or cough). Steer clear of anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially someone who is frequently sneezing or coughing. Parents should keep children home from school if they are sick. Do so until symptoms subside so as not to infect others.
6. Use a Sanitizer Product When Washing Your Hands Can’t Be Done: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that when hand-washing is not readily available, a good way to kill germs is to use an alcohol-based sanitizer lotion. While not as effective as washing hands in warm, soapy water, sanitizing products can be used in a pinch while you’re on the go.
7. Cough into your Sleeve: Rather than coughing or sneezing into you hands, do so into the crook of your elbow since this area rarely touches anything else. *
Although there is no sure-fire way to avoid coming into contact with the cold or flu viruses, diligence is the one key to staying as germ-free as possible!
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