To minimize your chances of getting the flu from sick co-workers, students or fellow commuters, make sure you practice proper handwashing habits.
While you can't control every germ in your environment, there are actions you can take to help keep you and your family from getting sick. Be particularly vigilant during the fall and winter months, when colds and flu are at their peak.
Here are some important steps:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.
- Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school except to seek medical care and limit contact with others.
And some "hot spots" you may have overlooked:
- If you take small children to the supermarket, use an antibacterial wipe on the cart handle before settling the child down in the cart.
- If communal snacks are part of your office culture, two things should be constant on the snack table: handwipes and bakery tissue paper. The former will remind people to clean their hands before dipping into the donut box; the latter, which are available from restaurant supply houses, will help insure that those hands, clean or dirty, don't touch other people's food.
- Steer clear of germs. When you get back in your car after being out and about, clean your hands with a handwipe or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Then use an antibacterial wipe to clean your steering wheel.
- If someone in your household has a cold or the flu, position antibacterial wipes in strategic places around the home and encourage everyone to use them frequently on common-touch surfaces, like the television remote, faucet handles, doorknobs and light switches.