Are you avoiding your co-worker with that hacking cough, cold, or flu in the cubicle next to you? Do you draw your hand back from every doorknob? Have cold-and-flu phobia? Get a grip before the grippe gets you. We’ve consulted dozens of medical experts to bring you 14 ways to avoid colds and flu this season.
Every time you shake someone’s hand, wash yours
But don’t stop there. Wash them as much as possible, says Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Running lots of water over your hands will dilute any germs and send them down the drain.
Keep your hands off
Touching your nose and your eyes may hurt you, Mengel says. Those are the most common places for germs to get in.
Go to bed
As if getting enough sleep on a normal basis isn’t hard enough, you need more z’s when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re tired, your body isn’t fighting as hard, so Mengel suggests getting 8 to 10 hours a night.
Get your shot
Last year’s flu-shot shortages are, well, last year’s shortages, says Jeff Robertson, MD, and chief medical officer for health insurer Regence. Finding flu shots should be easier this year, but you should get one early.
Build up with healthy food
You may think it’s hard to eat healthily on a regular basis, but eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables supports your immune system, Robertson says. And that’s a lot easier than fighting off the flu.
Get those sweats on and exercise, says Ann G. Kulze, MD, CEO and founder of Dr. Ann and Just Wellness. Working out regularly enhances immune function, she explains.
Keep your distance from people displaying symptoms like sneezing and coughing. While that strategy may seem obvious, it applies to more than just strangers and colleagues. Stay away from sick friends and family when possible, Robertson says.