NEW YORK: You may not be able to completely prevent colds and flu this time of year, but by practicing good hygiene and being careful to avoid cold germs, you may escape cold and flu season unscathed. Here are 7 simple health behaviors to keep you and your family free from the flu this year.
1. Get a vaccine
2. Clean your hands
3. Stay home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others. Most people can weather the flu just fine but there are exceptions. For example, people with underlying chronic conditions — especially diabetes, asthma, or heart, liver, or kidney disease — are also more likely to face flu complications.
4. Stop nibbling your nails
When you bite your nails, you’re basically inviting flu germs to infect you. No matter how anal you are about hand washing, let’s face it — you can’t park yourself in front of a sink or use hand sanitizer all the time. That’s where the avoid-unnecessarily-touching-your-face rule comes in. In doing so, you give germs a more direct route to your mouth and nose, where they enter your body and start making you sick.
5. Keep your cube clean
When was the last time you wiped down your desk or disinfected your phone? Chances are you don’t remember. About 41% of office workers say they rarely or never disinfect their desks. To add to the ick factor, that’s despite the fact that two-thirds of people say they eat lunch at their desks at least once or twice a week. If your unclean desk harbors germs, you can pick them up (and get sick) while shuffling papers or answering the phone—and especially when you lunch right on top of them.
6. Be your healthiest self
Make sure your immune system is firing on all cylinders. Scientists are still learning exactly how and which healthy habits bolster immunity, but there’s clearly some solid evidence for adopting and avoiding certain behaviors. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Drinking green tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia —the hair follicles in the nose — to move out germs more efficiently. Lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial.