Ask a Nurse: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Pamela is an RN, MSN/Ed.

Pamela is a mother of 6 amazing children ages 11 to 24. She is a nurse educator and loves to travel overseas to work in medical clinics and teach health-related topics to schools and communities. She has been married to her best friend, Steve, for 29 years. She has many different interests including reading, writing (NOT arithmetic!), baking, teaching, and spending time with her family. She lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband and two youngest daughters.

10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

It seems that the flu season is just now arriving in many parts of the country. Let’s go over some simple ways to avoid the flu in your household. You can’t always prevent illness, but you can sure try your best!

1. WASH YOUR HANDS! Proper hand washing is the number one way to avoid illness! 

Wash your hands:
*Before, during, and after preparing food
*Before eating food
*Before and after caring for someone who is sick
*Before and after treating a cut or wound
*After using the toilet
*After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
*After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
*After touching an animal or animal waste
*After touching garbage

How?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together, lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of
  • your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy
  • Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

2. Keep areas that are touched frequently clean by wiping them with a disinfecting solution (such as lysol, bleach, etc.). Include doorknobs, phones, counters, tables, keyboards, handles and knobs on faucets, and toys.

3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

4. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. Many illnesses are spread by a person touching a person or object that has been touched by an infected person, and then touching these areas.

5. Get vaccinated each year. You can still get the flu vaccine this year if you haven’t already.

6. Get plenty of sleep. Your body is more resistant to illness when you are well rested.

7. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day! Dehydration can also weaken our resistance against infection.

8. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet consisting of nutritious foods helps keep our immune system healthy.

9. Manage your stress. Stress can cause our bodies to be susceptible to illness.

10. Don’t share anything that goes in your mouth. This includes silverware, cups, straws, cigarettes, etc.
Carry around a small container of instant hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, and a travel-sized container of disinfectant spray, use when you are out of the house and want to minimize your chances of picking up germs and flu viruses. I hope you find these tips helpful.

Drop me a line at [email protected], I would love to hear from you! Let me know what questions you would like to see addressed in a future column!

Until next week-
Be Well,

Pam

To see all Ask a Nurse articles click here.

 




Comments

  1. Sabrina Radke says

    Thanks for the info! These are great tips to share with my kids so they know it isn’t only me that thinks these things! :)

  2. Sharon says

    So washing your hands in cold water works? My husband usually washes his hands in cold water and for some reason I always thought it should be at least warm, if not hot.

    • pamela jablonski says

      Sharon, Even though I am a nurse, I always thought it had to be warm or hot! Apparently, the rubbing with water and soap is what washes the germs away.

  3. Kelly D says

    These are great tips, especially for my school aged children. They had their flu vaccines this year, but I didn’t get around to getting mine. I will have to make sure I follow the other precautions!

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