How to Steer Clear of the Cold and Flu

It’s that time of year when a sniffle, sneeze, cough, or sore throat means one of two things: you’re either coming down with a cold or flu.    Either illness can have you bedridden with sickness and with us all living busy lives these days, who has time to be down like this for nearly a week or longer?

The following information can help you conquer the cold and flu before it conquers you!

-Quit smoking!  If there’s another reason to quit this bad habit, this is it.  Smoking increases your risk of getting the influenza and cold because it decreases your immune system’s strength.  Even being in the risk of secondhand smoke puts you at risk.

-Get a vaccination.  If you fall into one of the following groups, then you need to get a vaccination as early as possible:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Have a chronic health condition
  • Reside with someone with a chronic health condition
  • A pregnant woman
  • Reside or care for a baby who is 6 months old
  • Work as a caregiver, hospital or clinic personnel
  • Children ages 6 months to 19 years old

It’s important that anyone in these groups get vaccinated because it protects you from getting the flu.  Furthermore, it also prevents you from spreading the flu to others.

-Use paper and plastic.  Stop the spread of germs by using paper towels and plastic cups.  These are disposable, so when a family member is sick or on the verge of being sick, having him or her use these household items can decrease the risks of their germs spreading to others.

-Be clean.  If cleanliness is not your thing, for the sake of avoiding sickness, this is the time to make it so.  If you don’t want to contact cold and flu germs, then wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.  This is a major defense against these germs.  It is also recommended that you wipe commonly used household items such remote controls, telephones, and doorknobs as often as weekly to prevent germs from spreading.  If a sick person is residing in your home, then this should be done daily.  Disinfectant wiping pads are ideal for this chore.

-Allow your body to time to rest.  If you body lacks sleep, this can be an opportunity for the cold and flu to attack your immune system because it will be weak and out of balance.  As a result, it will not be able to fight off cold and flu germs as much as it would if you were well rested.  Remember, adults need between seven to eight hours of sleep.  Therefore, cut down on your schedule, turn off the TV and for the sake of good health, get plenty of rest.  You’ll certainly be glad that you did!