It is the season for sharing. The holiday season is the time of year we focus on sharing with loved ones and those less fortunate. We try our best to spread joy and good cheer to all, but we may be unaware of the germs we’re spreading too.
We run around doing frantic last minute shopping, touching a larger than usual number of door handles, stylus pens and shopping carts without giving much thought to the last person that may have sniffled and sneezed all over it. And while some people should just stay home, most push through to make sure the holidays go off without a hitch. There are even others who have no idea they’ve been spreading germs to a virus they don’t even know they have. Yes, it is possible to spread the germs of a cold and flu virus before you even experience your first symptom.
So, how do you avoid falling victim to the the cold and flu? Here are some tips on how to stay healthy:


Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based sanitizer. Germs can live up to 72 hours on a surface, so wash, wash and wash some more.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the garbage can after you use it. Then wash or sanitize your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, then cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm. Avoid expelling germs directly into your hand, which you’ll then use to touch everything you come in contact with until they’re washed.
Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes with you in order to successfully complete the previous steps.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Avoid sharing beverages and chic cheek kisses when the flu is going around.
If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks. A fever means you’re contagious. Please spare the rest of us.
Sleep. Our bodies heal when at rest, so get some Z’s!
Get some sun, or swallow it in pill form. Vitamin D is your friend and physicians are recommending a couple of large doses at the onset of illness will help reduce the damage, if not stop it completely.
Eat healthy foods. A diet full of antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients will help maintain health.
Exercise. Yes, raising your heart rate regularly is proven to improve the function of your immune system.
Relax! Stress sabotages the immune system. If you find you keep getting sick, it may be time to take a chill pill.



Of course, if you’re experiencing severe symptoms you should seek medical help. The advice above does not substitute the care of a physician. Your doctor will most likely recommend getting vaccinated before the cold and flu season even starts. A few doctors will tell you not to bother, as the vaccines only target the three most popular strains of the virus.
We can all strive to do our best to prevent and protect ourselves and loved ones from getting sick this season. A bottle of hand sanitizer in a stocking sure beats a lump of coal and a cold!

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