Unfortunately, we can’t isolate ourselves until spring, but we can take preventative measures to avoid getting sick in the first place.

First and foremost is getting the flu shot. Doctors do their best to determine which strains they think will be the most impactful that year, and while it can be hit or miss, it’s better to have some protection than none at all. A flu shot doesn’t guarantee a person won’t get the influenza virus, but it can limit the severity of symptoms.

Disinfecting surfaces is another preventative measure, as viruses can survive on a variety of different surfaces, including fabric, metal, plastic, glass, and more. Products containing alcohol or bleach are best for frequently used items like keyboards, door handles, countertops, desks, and other things used on a daily basis.

Good hygiene is another to prevent the spreading of germs. Viruses can enter a person’s respiratory tract through their eyes, nose, or mouth, and a person can infect themselves by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face. Regularly washing hands with clean water and soap is a very effective way to prevent getting a viral infection, with the Centre for Disease Control noting that proper hand washing can decrease the chances of a person getting the cold or flu by 16 to 21 per cent. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer makes a good substitute if soap isn’t available.

Keeping your distance from people who have the cold or flu is good practise as well, at least one arm-length, if not two. While people might be a little disappointed you don’t want to shake hands or give them a hug, they’re more than likely going to understand the fact that you don’t want to pass your cold onto them.

Touching your eyes or face should be avoided too. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health found that doing so makes a person 41 per cent more likely to develop frequent upper respiratory infections.

The best thing do to if you’re sick is stay home, rest up, and drink lots of fluids.

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