Prevent the Flu & Stay Healthy this Winter

The cold & flu season has started. Lets hope that we can all avoid those nasty viruses & stay healthy this winter.

You  don’t always have to be around someone who is coughing & sneezing to catch a virus. Most people are unaware when they are contagious/sharing a cold or flu bug. After being infected with the virus, you may not show symptoms for days.  

Viruses are usually transmitted through indirect contact: touching something that has the virus on it (for example water faucets, door knobs, hand rails, money, keyboards & phones). Viruses can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids (wiping your kid's nose) or through the air (inhaling an airborne droplet after someone sneezes).

Take the following preventative measures & reduce your risk of catching the flu. Stay healthy this winter.

Preventing the Flu

-       Vaccinations help to protect against the flu. They are especially recommended for young children, pregnant women & the elderly, as well as people with low immune systems & respiratory medical conditions. If you live with/care for people, who are more at risk for catching the flu, get vaccinated (to prevent from passing it to them). The flu vaccine is free & available for everyone. I am getting mine today. 

-       Wash your hands with soap & water often. Scrub with soap for at least 15 - 20 seconds which is how long it takes to sing the ABC song. Wash your hands as soon as you come home from work or other public places like your grocery store. Wash your fruit & vegetables & your hands before eating.

-       Keep bottle of alcohol based hand sanitizer & box of tissues at your desk. Clean/disinfect your phone, keyboard & desk on a regular basis. Use an alcohol wipe to clean your brief case, laptop bag or purse.

-       Avoid close contact with someone who has a cold. If caring for a sick family member; clean/disinfect surfaces throughout the house daily. Teach sick children to cough & sneeze into a tissue (or into their elbow if a tissue isn’t handy). Teach them to throw their tissues in the garbage & wash their hands after.

-       Stay home from work/school when sick to prevent from spreading the disease. Don’t take sick kids to daycare. Don’t go to the gym to sweat it out. You are only sharing your virus. When sick stay home, your body needs rest.

-       Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth. If you must rub your eyes, wash your hands first. Keep your mouth clean by rinsing/gargling with salty water.

-       Get enough sleep, reduce stress, get exercise & eat healthy foods/balanced meals. Eat lots of fruits rich in antioxidants & vitamin C. Drink water & stay hydrated.

-       While healthy living is the best prevention, over the counter products such as Echinacea &/or ColdFX may also help with cold/flu prevention. Opinions about these products vary. Talk to your pharmacist or physician. 

Being sick with the flu is no fun at all. I hope these flu prevention tips work. Stay well!