3 Ways To Fend Off Cold And Flu Season

germ-hotspotsHand Hygiene

It’s no surprise that taking care of your health starts with good hygiene.

A new study has revealed that the hand hygiene and behavior of the people that surround you, including co-workers, family members, and fellow citizens, can have a major impact on your health.

Preparing for Flu Season

Cold and flu season is just around the corner. Adapting the way you interact with your surroundings, and the people in them, could help you reduce your risk of infection. When colleagues you work with, and people you share the bus with don’t practice proper hygiene habits, they put others at risk by potentially spreading germs and infectious agents to others.

High traffic areas and commonly touched surfaces act as catalysts for germs. Schools, hotels, sports stadiums, and workplaces are full of shared areas and high touch surfaces that are petri dishes for bacteria and viruses.

Germ Hotspots

We know that germs love to travel. Contamination levels on common surfaces outside of your home may surprise you, however.

  • The workplace. Break rooms and kitchen areas in work environments are the most notorious germ hotspots. An average of 20,000 germs per square inch were found in office break rooms, places where people eat, relax, and converse. Among the worst offenders were sinks, faucets, and microwave door handles. Additional hotspots include water fountains, restrooms, computer keyboards and mouses, and vending machines.
  • In public. A study of six U.S. cities found that 65 percent of mail boxes and gas pump handles had high levels of microbial contamination. Escalators and ATMs also topped the list. Hand hygiene can significantly reduce the amount of exposure you have and that you create in these hotspots.
  • Schools. Bathroom stall doors, desks, and door handles in schools are among the most contaminated surfaces. Per square inch, teachers are exposed to 10 times the bacteria that their peers in other professions are.

Tips for Fending of the Flu

All is not lost, however. We may live in a world of germs, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, including the flu, and help make your environment healthier for you and others. Educating yourself and others about proper hygiene can help reduce the impact of the flu season, which was declared an epidemic last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Use these 3 tips as a guideline:

  1. Say something. Let the management, supervisors, or whoever is in charge at your workplace or school that you and your coworkers care about your health. As them to take steps to make sure that the materials people need to maintain proper hygiene are always available to them. On top of the list should be an effective and sustainable hand soap.
  2. Set an example. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough, and clean up after yourself. Others will notice!
  3. Keep it clean. Make it a regular practice to wash, wipe, and sanitize areas in your office after touching them or seeing them touched. Keep your phone, keyboard, and desk clean. Keeping high touch surfaces clean can greatly reduce infection rates.

Remember that your health is influenced by the hygiene of others. Use this short guide to find creative, effective, and polite ways of improving your environment.

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