One would say keep your cold and flu germs to yourself, but that is not always possible. However, here are some tips below to try and do just that.
It is estimated that one billion colds are caught annually in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population catches the flu annually as well. The flu season in the U.S. typically ranges from November to April.
While it is a myth that cold temperatures cause colds, it is true that cold weather keeps people indoors, making exposure more likely.
Here are some tips to help you avoid colds and the flu:
- Clean and wipe down shared surfaces such as countertops, keyboards and phones with a disinfectant.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, and wash hands thoroughly and often.
- Get a flu shot if possible (it is most important for children and the elderly).
- Eat healthy foods to strengthen your immune system.
- Exercise moderately to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Ask your doctor about vitamin supplements to help support your immune system.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Try to avoid people who are sick, and know when to stay home if you become sick.
You should stay home if you have a fever because you are probably the most contagious at that time, or if you cannot control your sneezing and coughing.
When in doubt, call your physician. And don’t overtax your immune system by going to school or work if you’re really suffering. Common colds can become more serious bacterial infections such as sinusitis, and influenza can turn into pneumonia.