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Tips to Help Prevent Colds and Flu

Yes, you can avoid colds and the flu most of the time.

Surveys show that Americans suffer a billion colds each year. Yes, you read that right. One BILLION, with a B. When you add in the flu, the number is even higher. But there are things you can do to avoid becoming one of those miserable statistics.

Exercise: It’s a Proven Immune Booster

Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for 45 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce risk of a cold by a third. The best results are long-term. In one study, women who walked for 12 months had the most resistance to colds in the final quarter of the year.

Eat and Sleep for Health

Mom was right when she told you to eat right and get plenty of rest. That, along with exercise and stress reduction, keeps your immune system healthy and better able to withstand infection. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits that offer antioxidants. Try to get eight or seven hours of sleep a night.

Wash Your Hands Often

Use warm water and a good helping of soap. Plain soap is fine, because it’s the act of rubbing the hands together for at least 20 seconds that is going to eliminate germs. Don’t forget to clean under the nails, between the fingers, and wash your wrists as well. In public bathrooms, use a paper towel to turn off the facet, another one to dry your hands, and throw them away.

Watch Your Fingers

Without thinking, we rub our eyes, cover our mouths, or rub our noses with our hands. That is a sure way to infect yourself with cold virus particles. Keep your fingers away from your nose and your eyes to avoid infecting yourself with cold virus particles.

Teach Prevention Hygiene to Your Kids

Children share cold viruses easily -- and bring them into your home. Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue. And instill a life-long habit that is the key to illness prevention: handwashing.

Get the Flu Vaccine

Vaccines are the surest way to prevent the flu. The best time to get a flu vaccine is from October through November, although you can get the vaccine even later during flu season. Get the flu vaccine every year. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and new vaccines are developed each year to protect against new strains.

Clean for Virus Prevention

Use disinfectant when you clean at home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. Stay away from sponges and rags -- studies show they’re the number one source of germs in the whole house. If you must use sponges, change them once a week or soak them in bleach for 15 minutes.

Practice Cold and Flu Prevention at Work

Hold office meetings in large rooms with plenty of ventilation, and don’t be afraid to practice “social distancing.” Keep some extra space between you and people who are sick, or who sneeze or cough openly. If you share a workstation with others, clean it with antibacterial wipes before you sit down.

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