5 Tips For Preventing Illness

The busy cold and flu season is upon us and even though we don’t get much cold weather here in Northeast Florida, we are still subject to winter illnesses. We all get exposed to colds, viruses and other bugs all year round, but during the colder months we spend a lot of time indoors where bugs can spread more easily. There are ways to help prevent the spread of these illnesses, as well as ways to improve the resistance to colds and flu. Here are five tips for you and your family. photo of child sleeping in bed

Wash your hands. Many winter bugs are spread when we touch infected surfaces and then carry the illness to our nose, mouth or eyes. Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent illness. Remember to wash your hands whenever you shake hands, touch surfaces in a public place (elevators, handrails, counters, etc.) and before leaving the bathroom. If someone in the family is sick, remind them to wash often and encourage other family members to do the same. If you can’t wash, use hand sanitizer.

Avoid close contact with sick people. Sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy to do if a family member is ill. Don’t shake hands or get too close to those who are sick. Keep surfaces clean and sanitized in the home, especially door knobs, light switches and table surfaces. In the workplace, clean and sanitize your desk every morning before you begin the day.

Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest. Remember the saying “the best defense is a good offense?” Well, that is especially true when fighting off colds and flu. Keeping your immune system healthy with good nutrition and adequate sleep is a great way to fight off bugs.

Exercise regularly as this can also help build your immune system.

Get the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a flu shot for those over the age of six months. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to fully protect your body, so plan to get the shot as soon as possible. Flu shots are available in doctors’ offices, health centers and some pharmacies. If you have questions about the flu shot, visit the CDC website or talk to your doctor.

Most importantly, if you become sick, take steps to protect family, friends and co-workers and limit the spread of disease. Stay home from work if you are sick, drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands frequently, and eat healthy foods. Remember, if you have to sneeze, do it into the inside of your elbow instead of your hands!