6 Ways to Avoid the Flu

Tip #2: Wash your hands as often as you can stand, and then some. Scrub for 20 seconds or more to remove viruses from your skin. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Tip #2: Wash your hands as often as you can stand, and then some. Scrub for 20 seconds or more to remove viruses from your skin. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

2013 is becoming a big year for the flu, in Minnesota and around the country. Fortunately, there are several ways you can decrease your chances of getting sick (via WebMD):

  1. Get a flu shot. It’s the most effective thing you can do to prevent the flu. Not a fan of needles? There are flu-mist vaccines available, too.
  2. Wash your hands like it’s your job. Run your hands under hot water and wash with soap as often as you can stand. Remember, it takes 20 seconds to completely rid your skin of viruses, so each hand washing should be at least that long. Don’t forget to scrub everywhere, including in between your fingers, the baks of your hands, and your wrists.
  3. Keep alcohol-based sanitizer on hand. Soap and water is best, but if you’ll be on the go or in a place where soap and water aren’t readily available, sanitizer can also kill flu germs.
  4. Avoid people who are sick. If the flu is going around your office floor or neighborhood, try to hide out in your own office, cubicle or house. It’s especially important to avoid shaking hands. This is standard practice among doctors. You can just explain, “To keep transmission of colds and flu down, I’m not shaking hands. But hello! Nice to meet you!” They will understand.
  5. Keep your surroundings clean. Sanitize light switches, door knobs, computer keyboards, remote controls and cell phones. If you’ve been in contact with people who are sick, throw your clothes in the wash and take a shower when you get home.
  6. Maintain your healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthfully, moving your body and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Also, if you have allergies, keep them under control with any necessary medications, because if you don’t, your upper respiratory system will already be inflamed, which makes it more susceptible to viruses. Some people call this “radical self care.” But it’s not really radical. It’s just good sense! Your body will thank you.
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