Every year, thousands of Valley residents experience the dreaded cold or influenza (the flu). The common cold is usually characterized by coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, and a runny nose. The flu is more likely to come on suddenly, and can also include headache, muscle aches, fever, chills, and tiredness. Here are some helpful tips on how you can prevent a cold or the flu this season.
Practice proper coughing and sneezing techniques. It is customary to cough and sneeze into your hands to prevent germs from getting into the air. But this actually puts the germs on your hands, allowing them to be spread easily to telephones and doorknobs, and almost anything else you touch. This is how colds and the flu spread quickly through schools, workplaces and entire cities. To help stop this mode of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends coughing and sneezing into fabric, such as a tissue or your upper sleeve, where germs are trapped until they die.
Make hand hygiene a habit. Whether it's with soap and hot water, or an alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer when you're on the go, frequent handwashing is one of the most important ways of preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including respiratory infections, says CDC. Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds or more to be most effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and wash your hands before preparing food or after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Carry an alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer to kill germs on your hands when you're on the go and away from soap and water.
Get a flu shot. Ask your doctor about a flu and/or pneumonia shot. The most likely candidates for flu shots are people who are 65 or older, as well as people who have serious health conditions or weakened immune systems. Anyone who works in a healthcare environment or who gives care to a person at risk should also be vaccinated. And protecting yourself with a flu shot is better late than never. Even if you get the vaccine later, you can still be protected since the flu season runs from November through April.
Don't share. Avoid contact with items such as drinking glasses, towels, or telephones that belong to someone who has a cold or the flu.
Keep a routine. Make good hand hygiene a part of your routine. Avoid excess stress and get enough sleep. Eat a well-balanced diet and remain active every day.
Kick the habit. Smoking can weaken your immune system and immobilizes the tiny hairlike cells that clear your nasal passages of germs. *If you or someone you know is interested in getting help, let Saint Agnes help! Click here for more details.
Need more tips on how to treat to beat the flu this season? Here are a few extra flu tips to keep you happy and healthy this season.