‘Tis the season to be jolly, sleigh bells are ringing and…everyone is sniffling. And hacking. Shopping in a crowded store can be fun, but it also exposes us to additional risk of infection. If you are worried about bringing home the flu with you, here are some easy tips for How to Keep the Flu Off of YOU.
1. Wash your hands before you leave the house and apply a hand sanitizer that has a lasting germ barrier built in. These new generation hand sanitizers form a film on your hands that protects you for 8-24 hours, depending on the brand! They are available online in differing price points and formulations.
2. Carry disinfecting wipes with you. Use them on every shopping cart before you touch the handle. Odds are that that cart has seen many dirty hands, sneezing toddlers and hacking grandpas that week. The flu can live for 48 hours on hard surfaces, so make sure you wipe around the entire handle of the cart before your hands touch it.
3. When using the bathroom, make sure to wash your hands. Yeah, I know, if you are reading this article, you are probably the type for which this is a NO BRAINER. However, a recent study found that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women admitted to not washing their hands after using the restroom. Ewwww. Always use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and always use a paper towel to open the bathroom door when you are exiting. No paper towels? No problem, you brought those disinfecting wipes with you, so use them!
4. Bring your own pen. It’s awfully handy to use the pen that the cashier hands you, but she handed that pen to hundreds of people. As you may recall, 50 percent of them didn’t even wash their hands after using the bathroom, and I guarantee you at least a few of them have a virus that you don’t want.
5. Don’t hand your card to the cashier if you can scan it yourself. She hasn’t had a break in 3 hours and has touched everyone else’s cards. She has also been blowing her nose but can’t leave the register to wash her hands so hands off of your card! If you don’t have the option to scan it yourself, give the card a quick wipe down with a disinfecting wipe before putting it back in your purse.
6. Don’t set your phone down on the counter. Everyone else already did, and studies have shown that cell phones often have more germs on them than toilets. Put it in your pocket.
7. If grocery shopping, wash all produce before consuming. You are not the only person who picked up that produce to see if it was ripe. A tip: Fill your kitchen sink with water, add a cup of vinegar, and soak produce for 10 minutes. Not only will this help to kill the germs, but it can help fruits such as berries to last longer.
8. The best defense is always a good offense. Optimize your immune system through a healthy diet, and plenty of rest. Consider cutting way down on sugar and adding vitamin D3, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.
9. Finally, if there is an outbreak of illness in your community, consider staying home and ordering whatever you need for pick up or delivery.
We would love to hear your tips for staying healthy and avoiding the flu!
Here’s to a very healthy, happy and beautiful YOU!