Flu prevention: Still a long way to go
Have you noticed how many adults are still sneezing into their hands? While commuting between Montreal and Quebec by train, last week, I was aghast to be with fellow passengers that were coughing or sneezing directly into their hand that subsequently touches seats, door knobs, money, or other people.
I would have so much preferred the company of their children instead, because kids know how to stop the germs, and when there isn't time to grab a Kleenex, they don't need to think twice about placing an elbow across their mouth.
So I thought I would list here some very simple tips to reduce the risk of being infected and spreading illness around:
- Get vaccinated against the flu. Even if the vaccine is not 100% effective, it is worth it.
- Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap, scrubbing all surface for about 15-20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.
- Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands right away. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth with your elbow.
- Avoid sharing objects. Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards.
- Drink more water. It's important you don't get dehydrated. Consume at least 8 glasses a day.
- Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce your body's ability to fight infection.
- Maintain a moderate physical activity. It will strengthen the immune system.
- Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance.
- Eat healthfully. Don't forget the recommended servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
By the way, watch how Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield washes his hands in zero-g: