Don’t we all just hate catching a cold. And the flu is worse, especially if it’s one of the new varieties. But don’t despair, or throw your hands up in the air in defeat, there are things you can do that can greatly decrease your risk of catching either. The following ten simple tips on how to avoid catching a cold or getting the flu can be used by anyone.
1 – Wash your hands. Doctors can’t seem to say this enough lately. Washing your hands is the single most effective thing you can do to avoid exposure to cold and flu viruses. Keep in mind that both viruses enter your body through your eyes and nose. So, if you touch something that has a virus on it, and then touch your nose or rub your eyes, you’re going to get infected. It’s as simple as that. As for the act itself, use soap and water and wash for about as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song.
2 – Wash doorknobs. One of the most popular sites for cold and flu viruses because people cough and sneeze into their hands and then touch doorknobs to get into places. Use a strong disinfectant such as diluted Clorox. Wash doorknobs as often as possible. Viruses can live on such surfaces for up to three days.
3 – Don’t share keyboards. If you use a computer keyboard for work, don’t let anyone else use it. And don’t type on someone else’s computer either. If it’s unavoidable, wash your keyboard after someone else uses it, then wash your hands.
4 – Wash after getting the mail. It’s something that few people think about, but virtually every single piece of mail you receive has viruses on it. Sometimes, they may include the cold and flu variety. This includes newspaper and magazines. Wash your hands after opening and reading. Also, if possible, avoid touching any of it again until you’ve had it for two or three days because viruses can live that long.
5 – Hold your breath. If someone near you coughs or sneezes, hold your breath until you can get some distance away from them. Though it is far more common to get cold or flu virus into your system through your eyes and nose, it is possible to actually breathe some in after someone else fills the air around you with viruses.
6 – Get enough sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep helps your immune system function at its best. If you can’t avoid getting the viruses themselves, try at least to help your body fight them off.
2 – Eat right. Eat fruit and vegetables and meat in addition to your regular food. These three food items contain most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to help fight off viruses.
3 – Drink more water. It’s good to drink coffee and other beverages, but it’s best to drink plain old water. Your body doesn’t have to process anything and the more liquid you put into your body, the better able your body is defend itself against virus attacks.
4 – Wear glasses. Because cold and flu viruses attack the body through the nose and eyes, people who wear glassed get fewer of both. This includes sunglasses. Any barrier you can put between your hands and your eyes will help keep you from infecting yourself.
5 – Avoid people. Obviously you can’t avoid people altogether, but the more contact you have with others the greater your chances of getting sick. Remember to wash your hands as soon as possible after touching others, or better yet, after being with others at all.
These ten simple tips on how to avoid colds and flu can be used by anyone at any time, not just during the winter months when both types of viral infections are more prevalent. Make washing your hands more regularly a permanent part of your daily routine; for example, after arriving at work; after meetings or other group discussions. Wash your hands after using the bathroom and always use a paper towel to turn the water on and off and on the door handle on the way out. All these things can help. As the world braces for the next flu and clod season, I hope you will take these tips to heart, because not only will you be saving yourself from infections, but you’ll not be another person out there infecting everyone else.