With the coming of winter, you might be looking forward to the holidays, spending time with family, playing in the snow, and more, but there’s one thing that no one looks forward to at this time of the year, and that’s getting sick. Everyone seems to get sicker during the winter months—likely due to the fact that we stay indoors and in closer contact with one another. Whatever the reason might be, here are 7 essential tips to help you stay germ-free this winter.
Wash your hands.
This one is common-sense, but you’d be surprised at just how many neglect washing their hands at the recommended times, for the recommended amount of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness. You should always wash your hands before handling food, treating a cut or wound, and caring for someone who is sick. In addition, you should always wash your hands after touching an animal, touching garbage, coughing or sneezing, using the restroom, and caring for someone who is sick. You should strive for washing your hands while scrubbing with soap and hot water for a full 20 seconds.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize.
This is another tip that seems to be common sense, but very few actually practice it regularly. When you sanitize the things you come into contact with on a daily basis, the important thing is to be comprehensive. Create a list of things that you will sanitize daily, and stick to it. For example, you might make it a daily (or, in some cases, almost-daily) habit of sanitizing your phone, steering wheel, kitchen surfaces, kitchen appliances, desk, computer keyboard, sink faucets, and door handles with antibacterial wipes.
Get a flu shot.
The flu virus is a new virus every winter season, so you need a new flu shot every year to counter it. This particular vaccine will give you 70% to 90% protection against infection, and if you do happen to still get sick, you’ll see much weaker symptoms.
Don’t touch your face.
Specifically, don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Any of these openings is a potential spot where you can transfer germs from your hands into your body.
Always carry a pen.
Need to borrow a pen? Think again. Frequently used public objects like pens are collection sites for germs, so you should always be sure to keep your own pen on hand.
Take your vitamins.
As you already know, it’s highly important to take a multivitamin daily—especially at this time of the year. Disease fighting vitamins and minerals that you’ll especially want to make sure you’re getting enough of: vitamins B6, B12, C, D, and E, plus zinc and folic acid. These vitamins and minerals will work together to boost your white blood cell count, strengthen mucous membranes, and fight free radicals. And beyond taking vitamins, it’s always a good idea to eat a well-rounded diet that is rich in these nutrients as well.
Get enough sleep.
Ample sleep is essential to helping your body produce the flu-fighting antibodies it needs to stave off disease. Strive for getting between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night.