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Staying Well in Winter
It is deep into the holiday season, with its parties and dinners, shopping in crowded stores and flying on crowded airplanes. On top of that, it is winter, which traditionally is the season of colds and flu. So how can you help keep yourself from getting sick? Experts have some suggestions:
Get your flu shot. This could be the single most important step you take to protect yourself against getting sick. You should already have had the shot, but if you have not, act quickly. A flu shot can't guarantee you won't get the flu, but it can help you get less sick if you do. And while you’re at it, ask your doctor if there are any other immunizations he or she would suggest this winter. If you are interested in supplements, talk to your doctor about what could be helpful, and make sure it doesn’t interact with any other medication you take.
Wash your hands. This is the other most important step you can take to stay healthy this winter. Wash with hot water and soap, and scrub your hands under the faucet for at least as long as it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday.” Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, before you prepare food or eat, after you blow your nose or shake hands with someone who has a cold – and generally, as often as possible.
Cover up when you cough or sneeze. Cough into your elbow or a tissue, and sneeze into a tissue. Then throw out the tissue and wash your hands.
Use antibacterial wipes. If someone in your house is sick, wipe down anything that person might have touched: doorknobs, remote controls, computer keyboards, TV remotes, game system controllers, light switches, bathroom counters and handles. Do the same thing in your office or if you stay at a hotel or someone else’s home.
Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose. Germs can get into your body through any of these areas.
Eat right, and get enough sleep. These two things can go a long way toward helping your body to fight off illness.
Drink plenty of fluids. Hot tea is great, but water is fine too. Hydration keeps your body working at its best.
Exercise. Taking a walk or going to the gym can reduce stress. If you go to the gym, though, be sure to wipe down any equipment before and after you use it.
Stay home if you are sick. Many people decide to tough it out and go to work when they are sick. That is a bad idea – for you, for your employer and for the people in your office. If you are sick, you are unlikely to be able to give your best effort. But you are likely to spread your germs to the people around you.