Health Tips to Avoid Winter Illnesses

5 - shotsSynonymous with snow and Christmas, winter is also the season for sore throats and runny noses. In addition to flu season, the colder months give rise to a variety of common ailments that can leave us feeling miserable and rundown. Fortunately, you can drastically reduce your risk of getting sick this year by following some practical winter health tips.
Get a Flu Shot
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By getting vaccinated against the flu, you can substantially decrease your chances of contracting this serious infection. While many regard the flu as a minor illness, it can actually lead to serious complications that hospitalize tens of thousands of people each year. It also forces numerous people to miss extended time at work. In fact, according to the CDC, the flu accounts for 111 million workdays, resulting in an estimated 7 billion in lost productivity.
Practice Good Hygiene
We all like to think we practice good hygiene, but many people don’t go far enough when it comes to containing the spread of germs. To effectively prevent the spread of germs, you need to wash your hands frequently. At the same time, you also need to scrub them long enough to remove bacteria and virus particles. According to the CDC, you should wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. This generally equates to the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice inside your head.
Change Your Habits
It’s very common for people to contract viral infections by touching their noses, eyes or mouths with tainted fingers. Many people don’t realize how often they unconsciously touch their faces either out of habit or to scratch an itch. Try to be cognizant of your habits to reduce the chances of transmitting germs from your fingers to your face.
Hand sanitizer can go a long way toward reducing your risk of wintertime illness. At the same time, it’s important to sanitize commonly-used items and surfaces when you live with or are caring for someone who is ill. Regularly wipe down light switches, remote controls, toilets, refrigerator handles and any other community items.
Take Care of Yourself
To make sure your immune system is in high gear, take steps to promote a healthier body. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get a regular amount of sleep each night. While these measures might not prevent you from getting sick, they can blunt the impact of a potential infection and help you get better quicker.

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