Is that pile of used tissues on your coworker's desk making you uneasy about cold and flu germs? Or do you feel a cold coming on and you're worried about spreading it to your family? Either way, it's time to take some simple steps to stop the spread of germs -- as well as a lot of sneezing, coughing, and all-around misery.
Wash your hands. It's the single most effective way to stop the spread of germs. Once cold and flu germs are on your hands, it's very easy for them to get into your body when you touch your eyes or mouth.
A hacking cough, a throbbing head, a sore throat, and a nose so
stuffed it feels as if you'll never breathe free and clear again. You've got a
cold -- or maybe even the flu -- and all you want to do is
crawl in bed and sleep.
Until you get there. That's when you realize your symptoms are turning any chance
for a solid night's rest into the impossible dream.
"It's true that many cold and flu
symptoms seem to get worse at night, and they can interfere with sleep just
at the critical time when...
Washing knocks germs off your hands and down the drain. Do it thoroughly:
Use soap and water.
Scrub for at least 20 seconds.
Get in the habit of washing your hands before eating or preparing food and after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
If you're taking care of a sick person, wash your hands before and after being with them.
Use hand sanitizer. If you can't get to a sink, the next best thing is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Buy one with at least 60% alcohol. Rub it all over your hands and keep rubbing until your hands are dry. Keep small bottles of hand sanitizer with you -- at work, in your car, and in your purse.
Cover your nose and mouth. It's one of the best ways to keep from spreading germs. If you can, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it out promptly. If you're empty-handed, don't cough into your hand. You'll just smear germs on the next thing you touch. Instead, cough into the crook of your elbow.
Disinfectyour space. You don't need to spend all day spraying disinfectant on every surface of your house. Still, if someone in your family is sick, use a household disinfectant to wipe down high-traffic spots: computers, phones, doorknobs, and remotes.
Use disposables. Cold and flu germs can cling to fabric. So when someone in your house is sick, replace hand towels and dishrags with paper towels. Remove water glasses and add paper cups in the bathroom, too.