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Flu prevention: Still a long way to go

February 5th 2013

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:

  1. Get vaccinated against the flu. Even if the vaccine is not 100% effective, it is worth it.
  2. Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap, scrubbing all surface for about 15-20 seconds.
  3. Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.
  4. 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.
  5. Avoid sharing objects. Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards.
  6. Drink more water. It’s important you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least 8 glasses a day.
  7. Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce your body’s ability to fight infection.
  8. Maintain a moderate physical activity. It will strengthen the immune system.
  9. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance.
  10. Eat healthfully. Don’t forget the recommended servings per day of fruits and vegetables.

Finally, if you have a fever and are coughing: Listen to your body and stay home. You will feel better, recover faster and reduce the risk of infecting others ;)

By the way, watch how Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield washes his hands in zero-g:

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Posted by Cinzia

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