Germs are everywhere, but practicing healthy habits can certainly reduce your risk of getting sick. There are countless ways to prevent the spreading of bacteria, and some of them a lot easier than you think.
The following tips will help you not only stay healthy but also keep you informed so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.
It's hard to resist a hug or a handshake on meeting someone, but if you want to avoid getting sick, it's pretty important. Viruses are generally transmitted through respiratory droplets, so it's wise to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Embracing non-touch methods of greetings, like an elbow bump or the "namaste" might feel a little awkward, but they are much safer.
Don't Touch Your Face
This is really hard to do, especially if you're thinking about it. Go on, try. Don't touch your face. You probably had to scratch your face while reading that.
If you come into contact with germs from contaminated surfaces, it is critical to avoid touching the moist areas of our faces (eyes, mouth, and ears).
Don't Share Food or Eating Utensils
Sharing eating utensils and food with someone who is sick is right up there on the list of 'Ways To Get Sick'. This a big no-no as it is the best way to transmits all those yucky, infected respiratory droplets. Keep your food and utensils very much away from the person who is sick.
Even if someone hands you a clean fork, for example, make sure you wash it before-hand.
No Towel Sharing Either
Separate your towels and wash them regularly with hot water. This is super important because, as we know, bacteria thrives in moist areas, so sharing towels is not a good idea.
If you're going on a vacation with someone who seems sick, pack an extra towel just in case.
Keep Your Couch Clean
Often one of the dirtiest places in your home. Couches have tons of build-up of germs, body oils, dust, fur, and sometimes food (depending on how much you do those TV dinners). This means it needs to be regularly cleaned.
Vacuum the cushions and surfaces and wash that upholstery. Keep your couch spotless!
Wash Those Blankets
Like couches, it's a similar deal with blankets. Make sure you wash your blankets and bedding regularly. Just pop it in your washing machine, along with your other laundry and rid it of all the oils, dust and debris.
Besides, clean sheets and blankets feel great on the skin.
Careful With The Light Switches
Spray those light switches with a spritz of disinfectant before touching it. Dirty fingers come into contact with light switches a thousand times a day.
Don't shy away from the little create sim the light either.
Wipe Down Door Knobs
This definitely makes the list of highly-contacted surfaces. Everyone's opening and closing doors all the time, so wiping down doorknobs should be one of the basic precautions to take.
Simply spray some disinfectant on it with a cloth or a tissue before opening the door and you're good to go.
This house-hold item gets a lot of attention. Everyone gets their sticky hands on it and those hands have been everywhere! Before you crash into the couch to channel surf, give that little remote a wipedown with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or an anti-bacterial wipe.
There are even certain methods to clean deep inside the device.
Keep Your Telephone Clean
Much like remotes, telephones are super susceptible to bacteria, probably even more so because we put our mouths on them! That's bacteria heaven. To avoid the spread of any sicknesses, wipe down the phone once you're done speaking on it so it doesn't put the next person at risk.
You can use any bacterial wipe or disinfectant spray.
Keep a Clean Trash Can
This sounds hard. Of course, the trash can is everything but clean. You can still "freshen" it up by rinsing it and disinfecting it regularly. Try to do this every week, or at the end of every trash cycle.
It also may seem obvious, but always line your bin with a plastic bag. A plastic bag-less trash can is a recipe for disaster.
Don't Let Your Keyboard Get Messy
Another item that germs love. When you're typing on a keyboard, you can't really get anymore touchy. Before you use your computer, unplug it and shake out the debris and disinfect it. Only once you've given it a good cleaning, you can plug it back in.
Never do this when it's connected to electricity.
Get Your Flu Shot
Getting your seasonal flu vaccine to protect yourself from flu is your best bet. Prevention is the greatest cure as we all know. It stings a little but it's well worth it. Rather that than a fever and coughing later on.
Your local clinic gives out shots against the common seasonal virus, so get yours!
Stock Up On Cold Meds
Turn your home into a little pharmacy. Things such as over the counter cold medicines, headache tablets, cough syrups, and tissues are super important to have when you're sick. It's great to have a cabinet full of medicine during these times.
Just pop down to your local pharmacy for all your basic medical supplies and make sure you get enough for you and your family.
If You're Sick, Stay Home
If you feel slightly under the weather, then it's better for you to stay home and take care of yourself. Being out and about when you're sick, not only makes it worse but also puts other people at risk.
It's always a good excuse to catch up on some TV shows and get in some good reading.
Don't Leave Your Tissues Out
If you find yourself constantly sneezing and building up a collection of snotty tissues, then make sure you throw them away immediately and into a sealed trash-can.
Used tissues with mucous lying around spread germs around your home and can infect the people around you. So if you sneeze into a tissue, throw it away fast!
Cover Your Mouth When Sneezing
We learned this in kindergarten, but sometimes we forget. When you feel a sneeze or cough coming along, cover your mouth, unless you want to shower people with your germs.
Even better, cover your mouth with your sleeve and then sneeze!
Wash Your Hands
It may sound obvious, but you would be surprised to learn how often people forget to do this. Washing your hands after using the lavatory, when taking out the trash, or when preparing food are musts, but you can be extra cautious by washing your hands throughout the day and after leaving public spaces.
So, soap is your friend! Lather up well and keep those germs at bay.
Using Hand Sanitizer
Unfortunately, you can't carry a sink and soap with you wherever you go. You can, however, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer. This is incredibly useful when using public transport, eating at restaurants, or just generally being out and about where you don't have much control.
If you're worried about all the chemicals, you can even get an organic hand sanitizer!
Tell Children to Cover Their mouths When Coughing or Sneezing
Let's face it, even as adults, we forget this sometimes! We're not at our most mindful in a mid-sneeze or coughing attack. Reinforcing our kids with these healthy habits can also help us.
Tell your kids that when they feel tickle coming up in their nose, to cover their faces with a closed hand...and then, of course, wash those hands!
Educate Your Kids About Washing Hands
We love our kids but they are notoriously good at spreading germs. Touching everything insight is a wonderful way to learn and develop, but it's also an excellent way to spread bacteria. Kids lick their hands and get their fingers sticky. It's unstoppable, but you can teach them to be a little aware.
Educate your kids about how washing hands prevents their friends from getting sick, Nobody wants a sick friend.
Encourage Children to Use Hand Sanitizer
Give your kids hand sanitizers to take them with to school or kindergarten. If you need to, tell the teacher to place a large bottle of hand sanitizer in their playroom and lunchroom so everybody stays healthy.
Encourage your kids to use it after and before playing with toys.
Teach Your Children To Not to Touch Their Faces
This is a tough one. Kids constantly put their fingers in their mouths, but as we know this is exactly how you spread bacteria. Kids can't always wash their hands but you can try to teach them to break the habit of putting their fingers in their mouths.
It might sound impossible, but everyone likes a challenge.
If You Can, Go Remote
If you have to go into the office every day, make sure to maintain a good level of hygiene, however, if you have the option of working from home, you might want to take advantage. The more people gathering in one place, using the same facilities, certainly increases the risk of bacteria spreading.
Keeping a safe distance from people who are sick, is of course, always helpful.
There's nothing like a good sleep. Extensive research has proven that well-rested people have higher immune systems and are better equipped to fight off viruses. After a great night's sleep, you will wake up feeling more energized and ready to take on the world.
If you're having trouble falling asleep, drink a relaxing cup of tea before putting yourself to bed. Meditation is also super helpful.
Much like a good night's rest, eating a well-balanced meal with all nutrients needed is a sure way to stay healthy throughout the flu season. Make sure to include a sizeable portion of greens in your meals, drink a lot of water and snack on fruit.
Look up recipes for healthy, vitamin-infused meals, you'll be surprised to find how easy it is to feel good with just a few diet tweaks.
Flush The Toilet with Your Foot
Once again, avoiding areas where there are high amounts of germs is always the number one rule. Unfortunately, one of these spots exists in places we have to visit every so often. Toilets.
Unless you're exclusively using your own lavatory, then don't worry. But like most of us who go to work and various other public places, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you can flush the toilet with your foot, you're doing well.
Holding Your Breath When Someone Sneezes
You can't exactly hold your breath all the time. You're not Harry Houdini. But if someone around you is coughing and sneezing, and you can't escape the scene, then hold your breath for as long as you can.
This will help prevent those virus droplets from entering your body. Of course, it's advisable to just leave the room altogether if this happens, unfortunately, if it's a meeting with your boss, you might have no choice.
Wipe The Lid of a Shared Drink
Of all the bacteria-fighting methods, this isn't really at the top of the list. This so-so tactic is kind of helpful as it cuts down some of the salivary secretions, but it's not exactly %100 reliable.
It is, of course, best to avoid sharing drinks altogether, especially if something more serious is going around.
Protect your hands from infected surfaces with gloves. This way, nasty germs can't transfer to your hands and then inevitably to your mouth or nose. Luckily, most flu germs die after a day of no person to person contact.
It is important, however, that the gloves remain dry because moisture is a great breeding ground for bacteria.
Hovering Over the Toilet Seat
Germs love toilets. While all this sounds a little icky and we don't necessarily want to think about what goes on there, it's important to take care when using toilets, especially in public restrooms.
If you need to go into a public restroom, opt for the hunching over and hovering method instead of the sitting one. It might be less comfortable, but it sure is safer when taking into account the spreading of germs.
Keep a First Aid Kit
For general accidents and the treatment of common injuries, keep your first aid kit intact and ready for use. If someone cuts themselves., immediately apply a disinfectant. When doing so, make sure you have your own hands protected!
First aid kits are a must on every home.
If you have to go to public areas with large crowds, then try to keep a good distance between people, about two meters is about the minimum.
It's always possible that someone near you could have symptoms and not show.
If You're Sick, Wear a Mask
While surgical masks have been proven to be pretty ineffective for protecting health, they can stop people who are already ill from spreading diseases. There are more expensive masks known as N-95 and N-99 that are able t control exposure to certain illnesses but they are generally reserved for health workers.
Since those are not available to everyone, if you're feeling a little under the weather, just wear a mask for safety.
Drink Lots of Water
It's always good to drink lots of water, so stock up. Water flushes out your system, so it's good when you're sick. If you're not into drinking tap water or don't have access to clean enough water, then make sure you have at least 1 gallon of bottled water per day for each person. If you have pets, stock up on water for them too!
If necessary, you can also get water purification tablets.
Stock Up on Canned Foods
If things get a little out of hand and everybody around you seem sick then it's best to avoid stepping out altogether. Of course, as a living human being, you need supplies so on your next supermarket trip, add a few non-perishables to your shopping list.
Canned goods are always great if you want to avoid the outdoors. Be sure to stock up on bottled water and toiletries too!
Stock Up On Hygiene Items
Make sure you have enough soaps and sanitizers to last you and your family for a prolonged period of time. You can even create little safety kits in your home for all your family members by packing everyone an anti-bacterial soap, soaps, tissues and feminine care products.
It may not sound fun, but creating little care packages could even be a family activity in times of need.
Get a Month's Supply of Your Prescription Meds If Needed
According to infectious disease expert at Brown University, Marguerite Neil, people at risk of getting sick should keep a 30 day supply of whatever medications they need at home.
While some drugs have quantity limits, it is possible to get an exemption form. Just ask your doctor.
Don't Overlook About Your Mental Health
It's easy to spin out of control when you're constantly worrying about your health and the health of others. This is never good as stress factors largely continue to your state of wellbeing. Sometimes the best medicine is a calm state of mind.
There are many ways to relax. Focusing on your breath is a very helpful method. Remember, a healthy mind is a healthy body.