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Fevers and sniffles and pains, oh my! From now until February, the flu virus will be gaining traction and will likely start to wreak havoc on your coworkers, classmates, friends, and family. At the first sign of your daughter sniffling or your coworker coughing, you may feel like throwing holy water at them and exercising their viral demons. But don’t banish them from your life just yet. There are many ways to prevent the flu from spreading to you, even if you do happen to be near a sickly person this flu season.
How to Avoid the Flu
Okay, this one can be controversial. Some people get the annual flu vaccine as if it’s just part of their routine, while others are a bit wary and opt-out for a number of reasons. But whether you’re for or against it, the science backs it up. If you receive the vaccine, you are 50-100% less likely to get influenza than if you do not receive the vaccine. Effectiveness numbers depend on the strains of flu included, your age, and personal health. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about receiving the vaccine this year.
Don’t touch your mouth or nose
Touching your face is a thoughtless reaction or reflex. You might lick your fingers after a snack or rub your eyes or even pick your nose (hint: we see you!) But all of these actions can spread germs into your mucous membranes, which can lead to irritation, cold, or flu. Think before you put your hands near your face. Those hands have been touching doorknobs, remotes, keyboards, and your germy phone all day. Are you aware that your mobile phone contains more germs than a toilet seat? Yeah, gross. Which brings us to our next tip…
Clean your phone
Literally nobody thinks to clean their phones until they hear this disturbing fact. But think about it: your phone touches everything. It touches your kitchen counter, your bathroom counter, your car dashboard, your dinner table, and your desk at work. You take it with you to meetings, restaurants, and your lengthy visits to the bathroom. All of these surfaces and locations contain germs, and then you’re putting your phone up to your face. This is why it is insanely important to disinfect your phone, at least weekly, if not more. Keep on top of this chore if you want to keep the cold and flu away from your face.
This one is obvious, but is also one that many people gloss over or simply forget to do. We know everyone has very little free time these days, but it’s important to clean -- if not to keep things looking good, at least to keep germs at bay. Make sure you wipe down surfaces with a great cleaner or disinfecting agent. Something like cold-pressed orange oil works great for cleaning and wiping down kitchen and bathroom counters. It also leaves your home smelling of heavenly orange. How could you pass that up?
Take your vitamins
Vitamins are important for your health generally, but when it comes to preventing illness, they are vital. If you’re not already taking a multivitamin, talk to your doctor about starting during flu season to make sure your body will be able to fight off any infection you might come into contact with.
If you have a lot of people coming over for Thanksgiving or are hosting guests in your home over the next few months, washing dishes thoroughly is important in getting rid of flu-causing germs. Put some rubber gloves on, and wash dishes using white vinegar. White vinegar will cleanse each dish of germs and will also help remove stains and brighten the colors. You can also add white vinegar to your dishwasher if you have too many plates to scrub by hand. Check this out.
Wash throw blankets and pillows
Snuggling is so cozy and lovely during the cold months. We love a good fluffy throw blanket, but we don’t love the germs that come with it. Cold viruses can stay on blankets for up to seven days, while flu viruses can stay for approximately 24 hours. If you have family members using pillows and blankets, or guests coming over this holiday season, make sure you run a wash of all your linens before and after anyone uses them. For an extra boost, add some white vinegar to the cycle. White vinegar will cleanse away all the germs and remove stains efficiently.