Now that the kids are back in school and the weather is starting to change, it’s time to start worrying about cold and flu season. According to MSNBC, while the flu can resemble a cold, the flu has more severe symptoms including fever, achy joints, sore throat, chills, congestion, headache and hacking cough. In addition, children sometimes come down with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when they catch the flu.
Adults can pass the virus to others a day before they feel sick and up to 7 days after symptoms appear, according to experts. So it is possible to give someone the flu even before you know you’ve got it yourself. Therefore it’s important to take steps to protect you or your family from getting it in the first place. Here’s some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
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- 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.
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.
Do Fight Back with Food- Research shows that adding certain foods to an already healthful diet can increase your ability to fend off colds and flu. Try yogurt, garlic, black tea, mushrooms, and fatty fish.
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 Afterwards- 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.