4 Easy Steps for Preventing Infections

Oct 25 • 2016

Flu season is here and it can seem next to impossible to avoid germs in your home, office, or school. While there is no way to prevent infections like the flu completely, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk. Start with these four simple steps to keep yourself healthy this winter.

Wash Those Hands

This might seem like common sense, but poor hand washing is one of the leading causes of infections. Depending on the environment, germs can live on some things for months. Think about frequently used items like doorknobs, computer keyboards, gas pumps, and even light switches in your home. Because you touch these items so often, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re keeping your hands washed.

Another issue is that many people don’t know the right way to wash their hands. Rather than simply rushing through the process, the proper technique requires washing vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water available, carry a small container of hand sanitizer to get your hands clean in a pinch.

Get Vaccinated

Getting vaccines for things like the flu, measles, pneumonia, and chicken pox is another important way that you can prevent infections during this time of year. Many adults think that they are safe because they had shots previously, but it’s important to make sure that yours are up to date. Speak with your doctor and look through your personal health record to ensure that you don’t need a booster shot.

Keep Personal Items Personal

Germs are easily spread through sharing personal items with others. This includes eating or drinking after someone else, as well as sharing toothbrushes, lip products, and even towels. Germs can live on a variety of surfaces that you may not even realize, so your best bet is to simply not share these types of items with others. This also includes minimizing the spread of your own germs by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Focus on Nutrition and Exercise

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying physically active throughout cold and flu season is a great way to give your body the power it needs to fight off germs that could cause infections. For example, fruits and vegetables give your body the minerals and vitamins it needs, while protein helps your body heal wounds more quickly. Keeping your body in top shape all year round is the best place to start.

If you have questions about your vaccination history or need to make an appointment with a primary care physician for a check-up before winter hits, find the doctor you need here.