Top 10 Tips For Avoiding The Flu

How you can forego getting the flu and colds during peak flu season by using top ten tips to avoid getting sick.

When flu season hits, you might have the impulse to bolt the door and wait it out in order to avoid the miserable symptoms that come with the season’s colds and flus. But take a few precautions and you might just avoid getting sick this season.

1. The single best way to avoid the flu is to get the flu shot.

The flu shot assists your body in building the antibodies needed to protect you from the flu. Among healthy adults and children, getting the flu shot can prevent the flu nearly 90% of the time. Unlike many vaccinations, you must get a flu shot every year as the influenza strains change and each year’s flu shot is designed to target the most prevalent flu strains of the season. Flu shots are safe, effective and generally available free or at a very low cost. Ask your doctor if you are a good candidate for a flu shot.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly & frequently with soap and water.

Your hands are the perfect mass transport device for viruses and disease causing bacteria. Proper hand washing eliminates and minimises the spread of many contagions. Viruses can live on your hands for up to five minutes and they can live on hard surfaces including your cell phone and television remotes for up to two days. You should always thoroughly wash your hands before you prepare food and before eating. Liquid soap is preferable to communal bar soap as bar soap can be the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.

3. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy.

For the times when washing your hands isn’t convenient, hand sanitizer is a good, portable way to combat disease causing bacteria. Hand sanitizer, in order to be effective, needs to be at least 60 per cent. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an effective way to combat the spread of the flu and more.

4. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

The old adage of cover your mouth with your hands to cough and sneeze got it all wrong. The droplets that come out when we cough or sneeze can carry the flu virus and land on other people or surfaces. If you happen to cough or sneeze in your hands, you must wash them immediately because hands are great pathways to spreading disease and if you are coughing or sneezing, you are very likely contagious. Ideally, if you don’t have a tissue handy, you should cough into your upper sleeve as you do not touch other surface with that area typically.

5. Stay home from work if you are sick.

Don’t try to be a hero, when you are feeling under the weather, the best thing you can do for your own health and the health of your colleagues is to stay home. Along the same lines, if you have sick kids, keep them home. It can be tempting to send them in if they are feeling so-so but in the long run you will spread diseases and out your child at risk for complications. When your immunity is compromised with a cold, flu or respiratory infection, you are much more susceptible to other diseases, which are usually rampant in schools.

6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

The flu virus and other contagions typically enter the human body through the eyes, nose or mouth, and your hands touch objects and surfaces that may be laden with viruses and bacteria. Likewise, it’s okay to opt out of hand shaking and other perhaps polite but germ spreading social conventions during peak flu and cold season. If you must, have that hand sanitizer handy.

7. Stay hydrated.

Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids, especially water. Water keeps your body running optimally and helps to flush toxins out of your system. If you do in fact get the flu, a cold or respiratory infection, staying well hydrated is an important part of recovering more quickly.

8. Clean germ spreading “touch points”

Household, work place and public “touch points” like light switches, stair rails, shopping cart handles, telephones, door handles and other surfaces that are frequently touched are veritable petri dishes of disease causing bacteria and viruses. Clean these areas frequently, and keep your hand sanitizer handy.

9. Eat well, exercise and get enough rest.

Get enough sleep. In our day and age, getting enough rest is easier said than done but sleep deprivation can compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to the flu, colds and respiratory infections. Aim for seven to nine hours each night and supplement that with healthy food and moderate exercise.

10. Don’t share household items that come into contact with your mouth.

Don’t share your water glass, even among your kids or spouse, just because you love them doesn’t mean they won’t spread a flu or cold. Nothing is worse than everyone in the house being sick. Drinking glasses, toothbrushes, utensils, food that has been handled should not be shared. So wash dishes, glasses and cutlery thoroughly and no double dipping. 

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