Win the war on germs with these smart strategies.
It may seem like everywhere you go at this time of the year someone is sniffling, sneezing or coughing. How do you avoid being sidelined by the cold or flu with so many germs surrounding you throughout the day?
Here are 6 tips that can help prevent illness this winter:
- Get a flu shot. While flu shots can’t help you fight off the common cold, they are the best way to help you avoid being sidelined with the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if you do get sick, your symptoms are typically milder if you have gotten vaccinated. If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, now is the perfect time to do so.
- Wash your hands. Plain old soap and water are the best way to get rid of germs on your hands. If you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
- Use antibacterial wipes. Germs can live up to 48 hours on hard surfaces. Use antibacterial wipes on high-touch objects, such as the doorknobs in your home, equipment at the gym or fridge handle at your office. Don’t neglect things like light switches, remotes and phones.
- Steer clear of things you can’t clean. Public areas are touched by thousands of people, spreading all kinds of germs. If you can’t swipe something clean before touching it, avoid placing your hands on it if possible or wash your hands right away. Some super-germy things? Stair railings, elevator buttons and ATM machines.
- Avoid people who are sick. One of the fastest ways for germs to spread is through direct contact. So do your best to avoid spending time near anyone who is coughing, sniffling or showing other signs of illness.
- Keep your immune system strong. Your lifestyle habits can impact how well your body fights off illness. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein to strengthen your immune system. Do some physical activity to increase circulation and help your body fight infection. Get enough sleep. One study showed getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night can triple your chances of catching a cold.
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Date Last Reviewed: October 2, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD