As those around you are sneezing and coughing, how do you stay healthy?
|Dr. William Manard is a family doctor at the SLU Medical Home.|
Everyday actions - the kinds of things your mother suggests - are a good starting point, says William Manard, M.D., a SLUCare family doctor at the SLU Medical Home.
In addition, if you haven't yet gotten your flu vaccine, now recommended for everyone who is older than 6 months, it's still not too late. Free flu shots are available for employees on weekdays through March.
"The best defense against the flu is to get a vaccine," Manard says. "A flu vaccine is particularly important for young children, pregnant women, people who are 65 and older and those with chronic health issues such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease. These patients are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza."
Many other tips to remain healthy are grounded in common sense, Manard says.
- Remember your tissues. That way, you can cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Be sure to throw your tissue in the trash after you've used it. (If you forget your tissues, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow and NOT your hands.)
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially every time your sneeze or cough. Take your time - 15 or 20 seconds. Alcohol-based gel sanitizers also are effective.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Avoid touching the "T" zone - your eyes, nose and mouth - which is where germs can get into the body.
- Be considerate of others. While sharing is usually terrific, if you are sick, keep your germs to yourself and don't go out. Don't attend class or work until you feel better and are fever-free for 24 hours.
- Use good judgment. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Clean your room and office. Flu virus that land on surfaces such as counters can survive for up to eight hours and spread infection. So clean with a household disinfectant to kill germs.