Although you may not be able to avoid the flu altogether, you can do your best to cut it off before it has a chance to wreak havoc on your body. Aside from staying away from people who are sick, there are several things you can do to prepare for the next flu season. Check out this list of items to help you combat this seasonal virus before it knocks you down.
Every time your hands touch a doorknob, light switch, or water faucet, it's as though they were also touching every hand that has contacted those surfaces since the last time someone sanitized them. Viruses often survive on hard, non-porous surfaces longer than on other materials, so you are at risk of picking up illness-causing germs every time you contact one of these high-touch items. The best thing would be to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching a potentially contaminated object, but that's not always practical. To get you through to your next handwashing opportunity, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to neutralize germs that may be on your hands.
Having high-quality tissues at home is not merely a matter of comfort for your poor, irritated nose. Using disposable tissues (and disposing of them immediately after use) is a crucial factor in preventing the transmission of viruses and bacteria that may be living in your nasal secretions. Low-quality tissues may break down too quickly (like when you're in the middle of blowing your nose) and not contain the germs long enough for you to throw them away. Anything that irritates your skin, such as a scratchy tissue, can create tiny cuts and abrasions, which are an easy place for pathogens to enter your body. In addition to your trusty tissue, make sure to wash your hands after blowing your nose! That way, you will further prevent the spreading of germs to others.
When it comes to detecting illness, knowing your baseline temperature is helpful. Did you know that 98.6 may not be your ideal body temperature? Tracking your temperature over time helps you figure out what is normal for you. Once you have that information, you can be on the lookout for slight upticks in your body temperature. Although you have to be pretty warm to be considered feverish, a slight increase can mean your body is in the early stages of fighting something off. An infrared thermometer may be more hygienic than other types and is typically fast and accurate.
High-touch surfaces in your home may harbor bacteria and viruses, even when no one in the household has symptoms of being sick. To protect yourself and your family from getting sick from these items, clean and disinfect them regularly. You should also have disinfectant sprays on hand in case someone does get sick. In that case, you will want to disinfect everything the ill person touches to prevent spreading the infection within the household. Read the directions carefully because not all disinfectants work the same way, and some are ineffective if you wipe them off instead of allowing them to air-dry.