School is back in session and cold and flu season is here, so it’s best to be prepared to prevent a virus from making its way into your home. The Center for Disease Control has a checklist of things to do to prevent the spread of seasonal illness:
- Avoid close contact: Try to steer clear of sick individuals. If you’re sick, try to keep your distance from others to prevent them from getting sick, too.
- Stay home when you’re sick: Stay home from work, school and errands when you’re sick, to try to prevent others from catching your illness. With the flu, you should stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Cover your mouth and nose: In addition to being polite, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough will help prevent the spread of airborne germs.
- Clean your hands: Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs, especially in communal areas; a good rule of thumb is to lather your hands for as long as it takes to sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ or ‘Happy Birthday.’ If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based rub (like Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer or TopCare Hand Sanitizer).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread by touching these areas, so try to avoid doing so.
- Gargle: Using warm salt water (or Listerine) to gargle twice a day can help prevent flu from spreading, since most flus, including H1N1, take several days after initial contact to show characteristic symptoms.
- Practice good health habits: Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy food (check out our blog on immunity-boosting foods here), exercise and drink plenty of fluids — especially warm liquids — to help lower your risk of illness.
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