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We are over halfway into October, and already many people are feeling the impacts of cold and flu season. Whether it's at the office, at home, or at the grocery store, it seems that no matter where you look, everyone is either sick or getting sick. Sure, it definitely seems harder this year to protect ourselves from the germs that plague us, and to stop the spread of those pesky buggers, but it is possible.
Below are some simple actions that you can do every day to help prevent the spread of germs!
1. Stay Home if You're Sick
This is common knowledge, but not many people follow it. Did you know that people infected with an illness, such as the flu, may be able to infect others beginning day one - before symptoms even develop, and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick? That means you are able to spread these illnesses to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. If you or your child develops an illness, especially flu-like, the CDC recommends that you or your child stay home for at least 24 hours after you become infected - with the only exception being if you need medical care or other necessities.
By staying home, you're reducing the risk of spreading germs to your co-workers, peers, and other strangers around you. That is something that everyone can appreciate!
2. Avoid Close Contact with Sick People
If you know someone who is sick, it's a good idea to keep your distance until they recover, or at least until they aren't contagious anymore. People are most contagious when they have a runny nose, cough, or body aches and can spread their tiny cold and flu germs out to about 6 feet. If possible, keeping your distance is the safer bet.
And, if you find yourself the culprit of sickness, do the same and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
3. Wash Your Hands
This is another fairly common tip, but can easily be overlooked. Cleaning your hands thoroughly is the most crucial aspect of staying healthy. Using warm water and soap, you should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you've been in a crowded area, or touched surfaces that are a playground for germs, such as a shopping cart, doorknob/handle, or even your own cell phone!
Remember to always wash your hands before handling any food, as germs easily can spread that way. Don't worry if soap and water aren't available, you can use an alcohol based hand wash, wipe, or hand sanitizer to kill the germs too!
If you want to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs, disinfecting is another crucial point to follow. Germs can live pretty much anywhere, but they tend to live on hard surfaces, doorknobs, keyboards, shopping carts, and light switches for up to 8 hours. Some germs that cause viruses or the common cold can even survive on surfaces that have been cleaned!
5. Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose & Mouth
Or, anything on your face, really. Germs can quickly and easily spread this way. This is basic hygiene, but it can be easy to forget as you go through the hustle and bustle of the day.
6. Cover Your Cough
Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze is important. You should always cough or sneeze into your arm or tissue to help prevent the spread of germs. If you cough or sneeze into a tissue, then you should immediately throw out the tissue and wash your hands.
All of these tips are basic information, but nevertheless, still critical to remember. As we move closer toward winter, it looks like the germs will be making themselves at home for a while. Use the necessary precautions to ensure your safety, your family's safety, and the safety of others, and if you happen to become sick, be sure to stock up on these essential items to help you get through the illness!