Spring is fast approaching and with the changing of the seasons also comes a higher likelihood of falling victim to cold bugs and flu viruses. By following these easy do’s and don’ts for avoiding germs you can minimize your chance of getting sick this spring.
Do use hand sanitizer- Carry a pocket-size hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it generously whenever you are in public places. Germs are everywhere and on everything and by using hand sanitizer you are protecting yourself from bringing home these flu viruses.
Do wash your hands frequently- According to MSNBC.com washing your hands is the best way to fight viruses and germs, if you do it properly. It may seem like the simplest thing to do, but be sure that you are washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap, and for at least 15 to 20 seconds. Teachers are now telling students to sing the ABC’s or Happy Birthday to themselves while they are washing their hands to be sure you are washing for a full 15 to 20 seconds. Soap the top and bottom of your hands (including under your nails) for as long as it would take you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you can’t get to a sink, a gel containing 60 percent or more alcohol will effectively remove germs. In addition to hand washing try using paper towels rather than bathroom and kitchen towels. Another important tip, don’t share toothpaste tubes. Most people touch their brush to the opening, passing along germs.
Do sneeze into the crook of your elbow- By sneezing into your elbow, you are avoiding transmitting flu viruses to your hands and will keep you from passing the virus to others. It may seem socially awkward at first, but soon you will see more and more people doing this when they sneeze.
Don’t shake hands- To keep from transmitting germs, avoid shaking hands with people when you greet them. Try a head nod, waving or smiling instead to greet someone. If you can’t avoid shaking someone’s hand, then be sure to use your hand sanitizer following the hand shake.
Don’t use someone else’s phone or computer mouse- Phones and computers harbor some pretty heinous germs for hours. Avoid sharing someone else’s phone or computer mouse if at all possible. If you do have to use someone else’s phone or computer wipe it down with an alcohol swab prior to using it.
Don’t change a diaper without washing your hands immediately afterward- This should be a given at all times and not just during the flu season, but stool harbors gastrointestinal bugs that cause diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach. It may also contain H1N1, so anyone changing a diaper needs to be sure that they are washing their hands (for 15 to 20 seconds) following the changing.