Practicing Proper Cold and Flu Etiquette this Season

. Posted in Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

By Alison Kennedy, FPH Wellness Director

Germs like the flu virus can spread with a simple touch or through the air. Experts believe that viruses predominantly spread through droplets expelled when sick people cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets have the potential to make their way to the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, as well as on any surface. Using good manners at the table and when in the company of others — such as coughing or sneezing into a napkin — can help prevent the spread of germs.

Here are some helpful tips to keep you and others well through the winter months:

  • Stay Home – If you are sick, the best thing to do is stay home until you are no longer contagious. Do everything you can to avoid contact with others.
  • Hand Washing – Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. You may have picked up some germs from touching doorknobs, computer keyboards or a phone. Lather your hands and wrists with soap for at least 20 seconds and rinse. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse. If you can’t get to a sink, use the hand sanitizer.
  • Tissues – Have a stash of tissues in your home and car. Keep a travel pack in your purse or pocket. When you feel a sneeze or coughing attack about to happen, simply cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. As soon as possible, find a sink and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, bend your elbow and cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm. Sounds funny, but it works!
  • Cleanliness – Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects within your control – counters, doorknobs, handles, TV remote and sink faucets. Wash pillowcases, washcloths and towels more frequently and in hot water.
  • Coughing Fit – Keep cough drops, mints, water or a travel mug of hot tea with you. If you still can’t control the situation, quietly step out of the room until you can soothe your cough.
  • Don’t Share – It’s best to avoid sharing food, utensils, beverage containers, towels, lipstick or anything else that might be contaminated with cold and flu germs.

By practicing your best cold and flu etiquette, you will help to stop the spread of germs this winter. And your friends and family will thank you for it!

Source: Reader’s Digest, Everyday Wellness by Kelsey Kloss

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