With flu and cold season upon us, Dr. Charles Bregier offers tips for avoiding those pesky germs that can make us ill. By practicing a few simple rules, you can also prevent the spread of germs.
1. Be your own sneeze guard
If you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on, leave the room if you can. At the very least, cover your mouth with a tissue or cough or sneeze into the fold of your arm. And don’t cough into your bare hand. That’s how germs get spread. Immediately put all used tissues in the trash. Handkerchiefs aren’t really an answer because after one use they’re contaminated. Carry a packet of tissues if you need them.
2. Go into picnic mode
If someone in your family is sick, consider putting away the good china and silverware and have them use disposable cups, plates and utensils. By tossing those items out, you cut the risk of spreading germs.
3. About those grocery cart wipes…
Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it as much as possible. Use a household disinfectant or disinfectant wipes on surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles, cabinet knobs, refrigerator handles, railings and cell phones. At the grocery store, take advantage of the wipes they station by the shopping carts.
4. Don’t shake on it
If you’re sick, politely decline to shake hands and explain that you have a virus and want to avoid spreading germs. Wash your hands frequently in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Try hard not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, as this is how germs are spread.
5. Keep your distance
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with the flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away, so stay away from individuals who appear sick. If possible, avoid highly congested areas during flu season like movie theaters and malls.
6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
It is important to keep your immune system working at its highest, so stay hydrated, eat well and get enough sleep. Get a flu shot every year.
7. Be a loner
If you are ill, sleep by yourself to avoid spreading germs to your loved one. Use a separate bathroom, if possible, and do not share bath towels. Have your own box of tissues and hand sanitizer.