Tips on how to avoid the flu and common cold should be common sense but to most people they’re not. I suppose the ones with no common sense won’t be reading this so this post is for those who want to brush up their cold and flu fighting tactics or learn something new.
Do you avoid your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you open every door knob with your elbow? I do. Maybe I’m a germaphobe, or maybe I just want to be healthy.
TIPS TO AVOID THE FLU AND GETTING SICK
1. Wash your hands as much as you possibly can
Each time you shake someone’s hand, wash yours. Lather up your hands as much as possible. Don’t just run water over your hands like most people you’ve seen in public restrooms. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain, and soap will help slough off the germs quicker.
Rinse your hands under warm water, lather up and over your hands and under your fingernails then rinse off. I have HIBICLENS liquid soap delivered monthly via Amazon to the house. Doctors and surgeons use HIBICLENS before and after surgery. Patients who have had surgery also cleanse with HIBICLENS to prevent infection. Anyone can use HIBICLENS. It kills bacteria, viruses and even MRSA and staph infections! I used it to fight off a staph infection. I keep a bottle in the shower. I wash with my normal body soap then wash a 2nd time with HIBICLENS. You can get it anywhere first aid and soaps are sold but I use Amazon.
2. Don’t touch your face
No one should have to tell you this. Your nose and eyes are the most common places for germs to get into your body, so it’s best to avoid touching your face before washing your hands (that goes for biting your nails, where germs can live.)
3. Get enough sleep
As if going to bed on time on a normal basis isn’t hard enough, you need more zz’s when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re tired, your body isn’t fighting as hard. It’s suggested getting 8–10 hours a night to keep your system in tip-top germ-fighting shape.
4. Get your flu shot—every. single. year
There is controversy on this one. I will admit I never get a flu shot and I’m healthier than people who do. It is highly recommended you get one as you get older, as in over 50. I would tend to agree with this. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months of age or older get a flu shot every year—ideally by the end of October, around the time flu season starts showing up. A pneumonia shot is highly recommended.
5. Eat enough fruits and vegetables
This one you’ve heard many times and most of us don’t do it. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help support your immune system. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables in standard form, I put them in a smoothie I make at home. Smoothies taste so much better and you won’t even notice the broccoli in the mix when using a smoothie maker. Fruits and vegetables can give your body an even better chance of fighting off the flu. You can make a healthy smoothie out of all sorts of healthy foods. I usually put a cup of milk, some ice, 1/2 cup oats, broccoli, frozen strawberries, a banana (or apple) with chocolate protein powder. This tastes AMAZING! These smoothies also help you to lose weight.
6. Work out regularly
Get those sweats on and exercise, says Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO and founder of Dr. Ann and Just Wellness. Working out regularly enhances immune function, which can help your body fight off any cold or flu germs. I know working out isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. Start small. Take your dog for a walk daily or walk on your own. Do something to get moving and work up from there. Look at YouTube for basic exercises or buy some books. Don’t workout if you’re sick. Your body needs all the energy it can get to fight off the flu or cold if you’re trying to get over one.
7. Keep your distance from sick people
This one is obvious, but it applies to more than just keeping a safe distance from sick strangers and colleagues. Even if you don’t get sick you can act as a carrier to family and friends. If you do have to interact with people who are sick, make sure to be vigilant about washing your hands and not touching your face.
When working alongside someone who is sick at work, I wash my hands when done. Remember, they touch their computer and mouse…and maybe you touched their computer and mouse too. Also, never touch your face or even cell phone until you wash your hands.
8. Keep hand sanitizer on hand
You know how washing your hands is good protection against cold and flu germs? Sometimes you just aren’t near a sink with running water and soap. In those situations, keep sanitizing gel or alcohol-based hand wipes on you at all times. Look for alcohol-based wipes and gels, which are more effective at killing germs than those without alcohol. I buy Lysol sanitizer wipes and go over door handles, sink faucets, counter tops and my steering wheel each week.
9. Quit smoking already.
Smoking increases the risk of infections by making structural changes in the respiratory tract and decreasing immune response, according to a study of smokers and infection published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2004. Smoking destroys cilia, the little hairlike fibers inside our noses, which can help increase infection risks. Nicotine depletes vitamin C in your body like crazy!
10. Be wary of sharing food with others
Double-dippers may be passing germs to those who eat after them, so maybe opt to steer clear of communal snacks—especially at your company’s holiday party, when cold and flu season is in full swing. Someone may not be sick, but they could be a carrier. Maybe they touched something someone who was sick just did and now you touched that item as well. Also worth ditching: Sharing drinks with anyone else—it’s just not worth it.
11. Try to smile once in a while
New research has found that happiness may help you fight off cold and flu germs. Carl Charnetski, MD, professor of psychology at Wilkes University, found that sex, positive thinking, playing with a pet, and other pleasurable behaviors boost your immune system—making it harder for viruses to stick.
12. Think of ways to keep others healthy too
Let’s say, by some awful luck, you do get sick—when you have to cough and sneeze, do so into the crook of your elbow, not into your hands. Since your hands are a common source of germs, doing that will prevent them from spreading.
Remember that anything you touch can carry germs. Public transportation, hospitals, workplaces, restaurants and basically anywhere someone has been or touched, can and will carry germs.
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