Winter is a notorious season for succumbing to illnesses, especially colds and flues. Though winter gets the most blame, any time of year can find germs spreading, especially in large public gathering spaces and wherever food is served. However, by taking precautions you can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick (or spreading germs to others). Take these steps to push back against bacteria and viruses in any environment.
Avoid Touching Surfaces
Any handle or door-button you encounter can be home to a multitude of microbes. Your first line of defense is to distance your hands from those where they exist, such as on doors, sinks, elevators, keypads and bank machines. A cloth or handkerchief makes a handy accessory for the task. In a bathroom, paper towels can serve the purpose. You could also find a more permanent solution in using a tool designed specifically for this purpose such as a keychain door opener. These kinds of tools are efficient not only because they offer utility but also because they can be cleaned effectively.
Clean Hands Continually
Whether you avoid direct contact with surfaces or not, you will find some germs, even an infectious dose, will make their way onto your hands. That is why it is important to wash your hands, especially before eating. Note that a quick rinse will not be sufficient. Effective washing involves the following:
- Wet hands fully
- Apply enough soap to create lather
- Rub your hands together vigorously, including the fronts, backs and between the fingers
- Continue for 20 seconds
- Rinse completely
Remember, if you touch the door handle when leaving the bathroom you will have wasted your washing efforts. Also, carry a hand sanitizer for those times you are unable to wash.
Create a Symbolic Neck Wall
Even if you have not been able to wash your hands recently, you can still stay safe: Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. This simple act will prevent any lingering germs from entering through these sensitive orifices.
Practicing considerate hygiene for those around you as well. Consider not shaking hands if socially acceptable. If you are at all symptomatic for any illness, avoid contact at all, but if it is necessary, maintain distance while talking. If you must sneeze, sneeze into your elbow.
You do not have to get sick, even when those around you are falling ill. If you practice safe hygiene on a daily basis, you will minimize the chances that you will end up spending a few days in bed instead of enjoying the days out and about.