Measures to protect you and your family during cold and flu season do not always have to do with vaccination decisions. Obviously, it is your choice whether to obtain a flu vaccine for you and your family. The measures below can work in addition to any vaccination that you would receive. Flu vaccinations are not one hundred percent effective in preventing influenza. Sometimes, the vaccination does not always correctly anticipate the type of flu that will be going around that season. Therefore, flu prevention and safety can include other common-sense measures that you can take.
One of the biggest risk factors for the cold and flu is bacteria. This can come through germs or other forms of impurities in the air. Therefore, much of your prevention strategy has to start with keeping yourself and your atmosphere clean during flu season. This will require vigilance and mindfulness on your thought. You will never be able to completely eliminate the risk of illness, but you can certainly cut it down. Here are some steps that you can take preventatively during flu and cold season.
Wash Your Hands and Fight Germs
Germs are one of the biggest causes of illness. Germs can fester and linger. Once they are present, they can weaken your immune system to the point where you can get sick. The problem is that your hands receive and carry impurities. You touch various things that have germs attached such as your nose. Alternatively, you can carry germs to your eyes and nose if you come in contact with them elsewhere. In other words, you carry bacteria back and forth between your body and everything else that you touch. If there are other germs floating around, you pick them up and internalize them through your hands. The Centers for Disease Control has released a study that shows that washing hands reduces the risk of respiratory illness by 16 to 21 percent.
You should not only wash your hands frequently with soap and water, but you should also carry around hand sanitizer with you at all times. Scrub your hands before all meals and certainly after you use the restroom. The CDC says that a single gram of human feces can have as much as one trillion germs. Being vigilant about your hand hygiene can only help you during the flu and cold season.
At the same time, make sure to clean your hands thoroughly after you cough or blow your nose. Of course, you should make sure to cover your mouth when coughing and nose while sneezing, but this leaves a residue of germs on your hands. These will live on and come back to haunt you if you do not remove them at once.
Your hands are not the only things that you should constantly be cleaning during flu season. Germs can also accumulate on your surfaces in your home or office. Take care to clean these both frequently using antibacterial cleaners. It is better to err on the side of cleanliness when it comes to fighting germs. Do not give germs a chance to take root anywhere.
While you do not have to hibernate during cold season, you must make sure that you get sufficient rest and sleep. When you are physically tired, your resistance to sickness decreases. When that happens, your body has to work harder to function, and your immune system has less to work with to keep you well. Getting a certain minimum amount of sleep each night will not only keep you rested but will help build your resistance to illness. This takes on even more importance when you are feeling less than one hundred percent. Sometimes, you can nip possible illness in the bud by getting your proper rest when you are starting to feel sick.
Staying Home and Staying Away
If you know that someone is sick, take care to keep your distance from them. The flu and the cold are highly contagious and contact with sick people is a surefire way to spread a virus. Germs can be spread through breathing and through touch. You should also recognize the risk factors for the flu and cold. For example, those over the age of 65 are prime candidates to catch the flu and will be more likely to get you sick. While it sounds cold to advise you to stay away from older people during flu season, recognize that this population will have a higher risk of contracting a virus during outbreaks.
If you have children and there is an outbreak of illness going around, consider keeping them home from school for a day even if they are not yet sick. Daycare is an especially fertile breeding ground for germs and viruses will circulate back and forth in this environment.
At the same time, you should be the one staying away from others if you think that you are sick or getting sick. Beyond not wanting to spread the illness, receiving other people’s germs can further hurt an already compromised immune system.
When you take these steps for you and your family, you will reduce the chance that someone gets sick. Once one person in your household gets sick, there is a high chance that they will pass their illness along to everyone. Thus, everyone in your home needs to take these measures for themselves to keep the bacteria out of your family because germs are yet another thing that families share with each other.
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