Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday everyone! This week I’d like to talk about increasing our chances of staying well during cold and flu season. If this looks familiar, it’s because it’s an updated post from last year. I just figure since cold and flu season is upon us, it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder of things we can do to protect ourselves.
If we believe the media, this year’s flu season is expected to be worse than last year’s. While we may not be able to completely avoid the viruses responsible, there are things we can do to lessen our chances of contracting a cold or the flu.
Most of these tips aren’t anything new, but sometimes a little reminder is helpful.
10 Tips To Help You Stay Well
- Get the flu vaccine. This is, of course, between you and your doctor, but the vaccine is the first line of defense between us and the flu. Even if it doesn’t prevent you from getting certain strains of the flu it can lessen the length and severity of symptoms. People who have certain medical conditions are advised not to get the flu vaccine, and the vaccines are not without possible side effects, so if you have concerns, be sure to talk with your doctor before getting it.
- Wash your hands often. Washing with soap and warm water is the best way to do this. Don’t do a “fly-by” though. The most effective way of getting rid of the germs is to wash them for at least 20 seconds, long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. When you’re out and about and can’t get to the sink, using hand sanitizer can help kill those nasty germs.
- Keep your hands away from your face, especially your nose and mouth. How many times do we touch our face without even knowing it? Try to be conscious of this, as our mouths and noses are the perfect incubator for germs and gives them easy access to our system through the mucous membranes.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy foods can strengthen our immune systems to help our bodies combat illness.
- Get plenty of rest. That’s easier said than done for some of us, but allowing our bodies to get the rest they need helps them repair things at a cellular level and can also strengthen our immune systems.
- Avoid getting too close to people who are obviously ill. If someone is coughing or sneezing, stay as far away as you can, and don’t shake hands with them. I know we don’t like to be rude by refusing to shake hands. One way I get around this is, if someone wants to shake hands or hug me, I’ll just say, “I think I’m coming down with a cold, so I won’t hug you (or shake hands with you).”
- Avoid eating at buffets, or if you do eat at them, wash your hands after you get your food but before you eat. You never know what kind of germs are sitting on those spoons you use to dip out your food, especially during this season, so washing your hands afterward may help reduce your chances of getting sick.
- If someone in your household is sick, avoid using the same towels to dry your hands. Kleenex makes disposable hand towels that work great during these times. If you can’t or don’t want to use those, you could always just put a roll of paper towels out or make sure everyone uses individual hand towels.
- If you work, make sure you keep your workspace clean, and disinfect shared phones, computer keyboards, etc. often. A quick swipe of a disinfectant wipe a couple of times a day can help get rid of germs and avoid cross-contamination if someone in the office is ill.
I hope you find some of these tips useful. As I said, there’s probably nothing new here, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of things we can do to help keep ourselves as healthy as possible.
What are your best tips for avoiding the cold and flu? Please share!