It’s important advice year-round, and particularly during cold and flu season, but what else can you do to keep yourself and your family healthy as the fall and winter bugs come out? Start with a healthy dose of these preventive steps:
- Disinfect: Know where bacteria thrive, and get them before they get you. At home, primary culprits include the kitchen sink (averaging 500,000 bacteria in the drain alone) and bathtub (about 100,000 bacteria per square inch). At work, clean your keyboard, mouse and the phone at your desk (at least for starters). They average about 25,000 bacteria per square inch – each. A quick pass with a disinfectant wipe kills about 99% of the bacteria and viruses.
- Stay Active: Cooler weather and less sunlight will soon kick many of us into hibernation mode. Resist the urge to spend fall and winter in your den sipping hot chocolate by the fire and you’ll likely spend less time sick in bed. According to research from the American College of Sports Medicine, staying active and keeping up your exercise routine offers protection from the common cold. They’ve documented a 25 to 50% decrease in sick time with as little as 45 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking) most days of the week – so grab your sneakers and go!
- Use a Humidifier: Scientists have found cold and flu viruses form a protective covering when exposed to cold, dry air, which means they survive (and can infect you) longer. Using a humidifier in your home can help keep the environment less hospitable for bugs. Keep it clean (you don’t want to grow mold) and you’ll have a healthier season.
- Know the Difference: If you do get sick, pay attention to your symptoms to determine if it’s a cold or the flu; then you can treat accordingly. Read up on what works to ease cold and flu symptoms.