Cold and flu season is upon us. It’s always better to take small easy steps of prevention than actually going through the sickness and pain. Here are a few tips that will help you and people around you from getting cold and flu
Wash Your Hands
You’ve heard it many times before, but washing your hands is the single most important way to stop the spread of colds. According to the CDC, about 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch — the cold germs get on the hands and from there into the eyes and mouth. Look at it this way: you can’t keep cold germs out of your house. But if you keep everybody’s hands clean, they’ll be much less likely to get sick.
Cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds and other infections. Even exposure to passive smoke can make you (or your children) more vulnerable to colds.
Use disposable items
Use disposable items if someone in your family is infected. Disposable cups can be thrown away after each use and prevent accidental spread of the virus from sharing of cups or glasses. This is particularly important if you have young children who may try to drink from others’ cups.
Keep household surfaces clean
Door knobs, drawer pulls, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, countertops, and sinks can all harbor viruses for hours after their use by an infected person. Wipe these surfaces frequently with soap and water or a disinfectant solution.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
While there isn’t direct evidence to show that eating well or exercising can prevent colds, maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, with adequate sleep, good nutrition and physical exercise can help ensure that your immune system is in good condition and ready to fight infection if it occurs.
Studies have shown that people experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts.
Prevent the Spread of the Flu by Avoiding Germ-Infested Spaces
Another way to decrease the amount of germs you are sharing with your surroundings is to go outside. Make your surroundings bigger and give your germs and other people’s germs some space. When you are in a tight, closed space, germs are just hanging around. Avoid spending a lot of time in cramped areas.
- Use paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for hand washing. Germs can live for several hours on cloth towels. Alternatively, have separate towels for each family member and provide a clean one for guests.
- Throw tissues away after use. Used tissues are sources of virus that can contaminate any surface where they are left.
- Avoid touching your face, especially the nose, mouth, and eye areas, if you are around someone with a cold or have been touching surfaces in a public area.
- When you can’t immediately get to a washroom hand sanitizers are a great substitute to keep on hand.
- Stay at home while you are sick
- Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands
- Move away from people before coughing or sneezing
We Hope and wish that you don’t catch cold this season and you can help others by sharing this so that others don’t get sick either.
Article by: Anna Imtiaz (Assistant Director and Blog Manager)
Publications Support Division, IFMSA Pakistan