Bless You?: Cold & Flu Season Etiquette

Bless You!?! Cold & Flu Season Etiquette

There are many things I love about winter. The crisp air, an excuse to mix chocolate into every beverage and the hope of snow days! While winter weather brings about some positive aspects, there are negative things that come along with it, such as cold and flu season. The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting sick. Here are my top three tips for cold and flu season etiquette.

1. Stay Home!
Sometimes leaving the house is unavoidable. But there is nothing worse than sitting at your desk (a picture of health) while the person in the cubicle next to you is going through a box of Kleenex an hour. We may also think exercising will help “sweat the cold out” of us, but the gym is yet another public place where it’s easy to spread germs. Remember working out is preventative measure that helps keep us healthy, but it is not the cure. Whether school, work or the gym, sometimes we need to sit out a game.

2. Wash Hands
We constantly come in contact with germs throughout the day, be it from keyboards, phones or office equipment. To help protect yourself, wash your hands throughout the day. In addition to washing your hands, you should keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand. Of course, when you’re practicing cold and flu season etiquette, be discreet about using it. Don’t whip out the sanitizer immediately after shaking someone’s hand. It’s impolite.

3. Clean House
People underestimate how quickly viruses can spread on surfaces like door handles and sink faucets. Things get especially icky when it comes to public places like schools and offices. Clean your home and public areas with disinfecting wipes whenever possible. This will reduce contamination on the surfaces of these germ magnets. If you own a company, keep some disinfecting wipes on hand for your employees to use. It really makes all the difference. According to a University of Arizona study, the “wash, wipe, sanitize” protocol can reduce the probability of catching a cold or the flu by up to 80 percent.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, getting sick is unavoidable. But if you use these cold and flu season etiquette tips, and live a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your chances of getting sick this winter season tremendously. Remember, practicing this cold weather etiquette is about being considerate of others as well. If we all do our part, we’ll all be able to live in a much healthier and productive environment.