We’ve received our first snowfall here in Utah, and we are a state of divided people—half of us love it, half of us hate it. The winter season may have a lot of wonderful aspects to it, especially in Utah with the greatest snow on earth, but it also has some not-so-wonderful aspects to it, such as the dreaded cold and flu season. Here are some tips to help keep colds and flus at bay this year so you can enjoy the snow and holidays without stress:
- Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. Surfaces that get touched often should be the first to be cleaned and disinfected. Schools are always asking for donations of Clorox wipes because they need to wipe surfaces so often. But take this idea to the office and home, too. Don’t forget doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, cabinet handles, and cell phones.
- Practice healthy habits. Your immune system can’t do its job well if it’s not nourished. It’s important to get adequate sleep, be as physically active as you can, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods, and manage your stress. For many of us, the winter season is a stressful time with pressure from the holidays, so it’s important to factor in some time for self-care.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Make sure to use a quality soap and apply enough to cover your hands, washing for 20 seconds minimum. Get in between the fingers and don’t forget the back of your hands. If you work with the public or in a school setting, washing hands often is even more important. You may want to carry a hand sanitizer with you, too.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, and eyes. It’s estimated that people touch their face about 23 times per hour, but this should be avoided as much as possible. The mouth, nose, and eyes are entry points into your body, and when you touch these areas with dirty hands, you’re asking for germs to come on in.
- Get a flu shot and stay up on vaccines. This is even more critical for people who are immunocompromised. If you’re able to receive the flu shot and other important vaccines, get yourself a boost of protection as soon as possible.
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have one and must use your hands, be sure to wash them right away. Transmitting germs is easy through a sneeze or a cough.
- If you have any cold or flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours, unless you need medical care. Many of us try to “power through” a sickness, but we’ve learned the hard way that this is not good. It’s a safety factor for business and it should be taken seriously. For a person’s individual health, they should stay home when sick, but for the betterment of the work team or community, staying home will help prevent the spread of the flu or cold onto others.