HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Fall and winter bring countless joyous occasions. For many, this time of year marks back to school for the kids, an abundance of seasonal parties and marathon holiday shopping.
While all of these festive activities are intended to be carefree and fun, a sinister villain waits, lurking on the elevator buttons you press at the mall, on the handrails you grasp when traveling up the escalator, and on many other frequently touched surfaces.
You guessed it, the flu.
While this is a joyous time of year, it also marks the kickoff of cold and flu season. Armed with the right knowledge, you can be proactive in reducing your chances of catching a cold or flu virus by following some simple steps.
When it comes to the flu, receiving your annual flu vaccine is the best method of prevention. However, good health habits are also crucial to protecting yourself and loved ones. Some of these include:
1. If you are sick, practice social distancing. In other words, place distance between yourself and others to protect them from getting sick, too. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, too.
2. Stay home when you are feeling ill. Avoiding work and school when you’re under the weather may spare countless others from contracting the cold or flu virus.
3. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose. The germs that are ejected have the ability to travel several feet away from you, so using a tissue to help contain these germs is ideal.
4. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth; this seemingly harmless act could directly expose you to viruses, bacteria, and a multitude of other microorganisms.
5. Finally, frequently wash your hands with soap and water. As an alternative, if you’re unable to access a sink there are a variety of alcohol-based hand sanitizers that can minimize germs on hands until you’re able to use soap and water.
In addition to keeping your hands and body clean, don’t forget about the objects you touch every day at home, the gym, the grocery store and other public places.
Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and objects, like toys, cell phones, gym equipment, shared office supplies and door handles, can help slow the spread of cold and flu viruses.
Staying healthy during the cold and flu season can seem like a daunting task, but remaining vigilant and proactive will help promote a happy and healthy holiday season.
For more information, including when and where you can receive the flu vaccine, please contact the 75th MDG Public Health Office at 801-586-9660.