|Woman sitting on a deck with her dog|
While people with specific conditions and disabilities (e.g., asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or diabetes) must take specific precautions in the winter months to avoid respiratory infections, these tips will help everyone stay healthier.
- Stay away from people who have a cold or the flu. These viruses are VERY transmissible. Stay out of crowds. But don’t totally isolate yourself or you run an increased risk of getting depression.
- Don’t touch your nose or mouth. If you touched something with the cold or flu virus on it, and then touch your face, you are infecting yourself.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Scrub your hands and between your fingers with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Wash before eating, before and after handling food, after using the restroom, and after touching shared objects like door knobs.
- Get the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that almost everyone over age 6 months get vaccinated.
- The people you live with and your close friends should get the shot too. Research says that will reduce your risk of getting the flu.
- Discuss with your doctor whether you should also get the pneumonia shot.
- Practice healthy life habits. Be physically active, eat a healthy diet (emphasize veggies and fruits), don’t smoke, and get enough sleep.
These steps may help you have a virus-free winter.