No one wants to be under the weather. But for people with chronic conditions, it’s even more important to take steps to stop the spread of germs. If you have a chronic condition, you may be at greater risk of complications from viruses including the common cold.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to prevent the spread of germs and avoid getting sick. Here are a few strategies you can use to stay well.
Get vaccinated. The best way to protect yourself against the flu (influenza) is by getting an annual seasonal flu vaccine. Getting the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death; the vaccine cuts your risk of getting the flu and makes you less likely to need to go to the hospital if you did get it.
Keep your distance. Avoid close contact with people who are sick to help keep germs away. When you’re feeling under the weather, return the favor. Stay home to keep from spreading your illness to others.
Cover up. When you cough or sneeze, block your mouth and nose with a tissue. Dispose of tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward. Respiratory illnesses like the flu are spread by coughing, sneezing, or unclean hands; covering up your cough or sneeze can help prevent germs from spreading.
Hands off. Do your best to keep your hands away from your face. When a person touches germ-contaminated hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected.
Clean surfaces. Wipe down counters, doorknobs, and other frequently touched surfaces at home and at work. This is extra important if someone around you is sick.
Take care of yourself. The better your health, the better your body will be able to fight off germs. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, drink water and other fluids, stay active, and manage stress.
Wash well. It’s simple, but true: Handwashing prevents illness. Follow these five steps every time you wash to stop the spread of germs:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the tap and apply soap.
- Lather your hands — focus on the backs of your hands, between fingers, and under nails.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice if you need a timer).
- Rinse your hands under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel.