This time of year can be a difficult one if you’re trying to stay healthy and avoid the flu. It seems like everyone is sick and the germs are all around you. Keeping the flu away may not always be possible, but here are a few ways you can protect yourself.
Wash your hands properly.
The best way to avoid colds and flu is to practice effective hand hygiene. Here’s how:
- Use warm water, not hot, and wet hands thoroughly.
- Apply plenty of soap (does NOT have to be antibacterial), and work up a lather for 20 seconds. The friction is what really kills the germs. Count slowly to 20, or sing your favorite childhood song two or three times. Rub your hands together briskly, and make sure you wash everything from wrists to fingertips. Don’t forget knuckles, cuticles, and under fingernails.
- When you rinse, make sure you keep your hands below your elbows. Don’t touch the sink or the faucet.
- Leave the water running, and use at least two clean paper towels to dry your hands.
- Grab another dry paper towel and turn off the faucets. Use whatever you can to open the door… your elbow, another towel, or the bottom of your shirt. The bathroom door is typically teeming with germs.
Always wash your hands when you get home from being out in public, especially after shopping.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize… and don’t touch your face!
Carry alcohol-based sanitizer with you for those times you can’t wash your hands or you’re handing things others touch (such as shopping carts). Follow the directions on the sanitizer. Again, friction is your friend when it comes to hand hygiene.
The easiest way to transmit the flu or cold is to touch your face. Keep hands away!
Get plenty of sleep.
Don’t allow yourself to run down. Sleeping is your body’s way of recharging, and that recharge includes your immune system. Know how much sleep you need to be healthy—for most adults, it’s at least 7 hours a night.
Part of keeping your immune system healthy is feeding it properly. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats and protein. Keep sugar and starches to a minimum, and drink plenty of water.
Avoid people who are sick.
If you don’t need to be around sick people, don’t do it. It’s difficult to keep the flu away if you’re spending several hours with someone who has it. Ask coworkers to keep their distance and cough into their sleeves.
The key to avoiding the flu is to constantly be vigilant and observant.
What tricks do you use to prevent flu?