Flu season has taken its toll earlier than expected. Even if you fortified yourself with flu shot, you may still contract one of the other viral strains circulating. The flu shot has a 67% effective rate and can take up to two weeks to provide immunity. So, be proactive in fighting against these winter viruses.
Cover your cough
Coughs seem to be the one symptom that hangs on even after the virus has run its course. Coughing can spew germs up to twenty feet. Proper handling of coughs can keep from spreading germs and passing on the remnants of viruses. In the past, people were encouraged to cover their mouths with their hands when coughing. Now the elbow is preferred as it is more effective in keeping the cough from being as airborne. Not coughing into your hands keeps the germs from spreading to everything that is touched. Try not to touch your face if you used your hands to catch a cough or sneeze. Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after coughing. Keep sanitizer handy and encourage your whole family to use it.
Sharing cups can spread viruses
Don’t share cups or other eating utensils with family members or friends. Give each family member their own cup that is for their use alone. Forming the habit of using your own cup will aid in preventing the spread of germs.
Wash toys and wipe down counters
Wash toys handled by children with runny noses. Encourage bed rest for even low grade fevers. And don’t send your child to school or daycare with a fever.
Wipe down counters and tables and change bedding more often to keep germs from spreading. The flu virus can live on a metal surface for up to 6 hours. At work wipe down your area before you start your shift. This can keep viruses from coming home with you.
Keep hand sanitizer handy
Encourage your children to wipe down their desks and keep hand sanitizer handy at school. Teach them proper hand washing and coughing techniques. Add tissue to their backpacks.
Plenty of rest
Each family member should strive to get lots of rest during flu season. Fatigue is an open invitation for cold and flu viruses.
Sunlight, healthy food and water
Encourage healthy eating and daily exposure to sunlight to keep your immune system in top form. Enjoying the sunlight for a few minutes even on a cold winter day exposes the skin to Vitamin D which is needed to maintain good health. Consuming lots of water and non-sugared drinks keeps you hydrated. Water also helps flush harmful bacteria from the body.
All of these simple tips go a long way in reducing viral illness in your home.