Summer is almost over, and we are feeling the first tendrils of cold creeping in during the very early morning hours. The breezes are that little bit colder and the nights are getting nippy. While having a bit of a break from the intense summer heat that the country has experienced, going into winter has one downside: the flu.
Although the flu is certainly not an illness reserved for the summer, I have had a few colleagues fall prey to the illness in the past week, the flu is almost always associated with the cold winter months. And it seems as if each year the flu is getting worse and worse, with even the powerful medication being unable to completely knock it. So prevention is as always, better than cure.
Firstly what is flu?
We all have an idea about what flu is but most of us don’t know exactly what it is. Flu is caused by a virus that enters the respiratory system and it is extremely contagious. Sneezing, coughing and shaking hands with sick people are known to spread the influenza virus, and a person can become contagious one day before showing symptoms and seven days after the virus has taken hold. Basically, being around someone with influenza is almost unavoidable.
But wait, this article is about how to avoid getting the flu and you now might be wondering how you are going to avoid getting it if you going to be in contact with someone with the flu. Well there are quite a few ways to avoid the virus that is thought to be unavoidable.
Some simple, tried and tested ways to avoid the flu virus
Working in an open plan office means no getting away from a coughing person. And it is likely that in the past you have been one of those people with flu in the office who has felt incredibly guilty about having the flu and being at work. But within any office, and in any other environment, there are going to be a few things that you can do to minimise the risk of getting the flu.
· Use hand sanitizer in the office
Take the water cooler, the coffee pot and the door handles. Each one of these surfaces are going to have the virus on them as an infected person is going to be touching the surfaces at one point or another. Washing your hands regularly or using a hand sanitizer is one of the most effective ways to stay safe during the winter. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on your desk and use it as often as you can, this will keep your hands free of the virus and it will prevent the transferring of the virus into your body. The virus easily enters your body through your nose and eyes, so if there is someone in the office with flu, try not to touch your eyes or nose after you have touched something else in the office.
· Get to sleep
Hand sanitizer is possibly one of the best things to use when you want to avoid getting the flu, but keeping healthy also means eating healthy and getting enough sleep. Sleeping will keep you healthy especially if the sleep is good quality. Quality sleep allows your body to restore itself and heal. This kind of reminds us of another point, which is to not drink too heavily. Heavy drinking interrupts sleep and lowers the quality of the sleep, making your body more susceptible to viruses like influenza.
· Drink tea
While tea itself has a lot of healing properties, it is how you drink tea that is going to fight off the germs. When the tea is hot, inhale the steam. Quoting an ear, nose and throat specialist, “Drinking the tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia (the hair follicles in the nose) to move out germs more efficiently.” Maybe this will make you think differently about drinking tea!
· Stay clean at the gym
Although most gyms have a policy of cleaning up after you have used a machine, many people aren’t considerate. They sweat all over the equipment and while this is disgusting enough as it is, if they have flu then you are going to have even more risk of getting sick. A tip we can give you is to bring a hand sanitizer to the gym to spray on the equipment and to wipe down all machines that you are going to be using. Antibacterial wipes that you can throw away after use are also great to bring to the gym.
· Clean your desk
That person who just coughed next to your desk? She probably just left germs on the surface. Keeping your desk hygienic is very important especially when you learn that there are some viruses that can live for up to 48 hours after they have left their host. Keep a hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial spray on your desk, then use it often. Spray it on your desk, on your keyboard, on your mouse and everywhere else you are going to be touching.
· No hand sanitizer? No problem
So you don’t have hand sanitizer, but you do have a bottle of vodka? Well, vodka can be a great hand sanitizer in emergency situations. For those in the service industry, such as waitresses and bar tenders, and who have vodka available, just a splash of this alcohol will remove the germs.
· Breath out but not in
We have all had the unpleasant experience of walking past someone who is sick and who has just sneezed or coughed. You cringe but you have to keep walking, so what can you do? As you approach the person, exhale slowly until you are away from them. This ensures that you are not breathing in their germs and it could prevent you from getting sick.
· Turn to a supplement
There are some great supplements on the market these days, along with natural antibiotics that can help you kick the virus the moment you feel the first symptoms of flu. Zinc is a great supplement for boosting the immune system and it is available in most pharmacies.
You really don’t have to get flu this winter, with the right hand sanitizer and a few of these tips, you can stay healthy. And by the way, if you are looking for a great quality hand sanitizer, Healthy Splash has a wonderful selection to look through.