Stay Focused on Flu and Cold Prevention

Stay focused on flu and cold preventionEvery year, you’re probably inundated with warnings about cold and flu season. And while it can be easy to brush off the advice—don’t. Doctors (and mothers) keep repeating the same spiel because millions of people keep getting sick.

Sore throats and body aches aren’t the only concern. These respiratory illnesses sometimes lead to serious health problems like pneumonia and bronchitis. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to protect both yourself and your loved ones.

Here’s a refresher on cold and flu prevention tips:

Instead of …

Stay safe by …

Only washing your hands after going to the bathroom

Cleaning your hands frequently, such as:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating meals
  • After using the toilet
  • After touching pet food or waste
  • After taking out the trash

Going through the motions when washing your hands

Taking the full 20 seconds to wash your hands—scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails

Waiting until you’re home to clean your hands

Keeping a travel size hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) with you for when you don’t have access to soap and water

Mindlessly touching your face with dirty hands

Being aware of your face-touching habits; only touch your face with freshly washed hands

Skipping your annual flu vaccine

Making time to get the flu vaccine every year—it’s best to get vaccinated by early fall, but vaccines are still beneficial in January or later

What If I Get Sick?
If you come down with the flu or a cold, follow this advice to avoid spreading it to others:

  • Stay home. Ask someone to run errands for you.
  • Before coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or shirt sleeve). Wash your hands immediately after.
  • Refrain from hugging, touching, or having any close contact with other people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often. For example: light switches, handrails, doorknobs, and cellphones.

Cold, Flu, or Coronavirus?Dealing with sniffles and a sore throat is never any fun. But now, these symptoms are even more stressful: What if it’s COVID-19? For a refresher on the difference between having the flu, the coronavirus, or a cold, check out our symptom guide.