• Fight winter bugs with hygiene

    Keep the winter bugs away! Simple, practical tips.

    It is that time of year when many people find themselves with colds, flu or norovirus – those typical winter bugs. But getting ill is not a foregone conclusion, and there are some things we can do to protect ourselves against illness. Many of my tips are very cheap, if not free, and by taking a bit of responsibility for our health, we can help to reduce the risk of illness. I think it is worth the effort!

    Vaccination – flu vaccines are free for many or around £10 at a chemist. I got mine in an outdoor clothing suppliers at their travel desk. The cost of being ill is so much more, and for vulnerable people it could be life-threatening. I have been talking to someone who had been ill for 3 weeks – think of all the medicines, loss of work, not to mention the pain and suffering.

    Hygiene – these tips are simple and virtually free!

    • Wash your hands when you come in from shopping or travelling on public transport – this will protect you from all the viruses you may have picked up outside.
    • Never rub your eyes with potentially dirty hands – keep fingers off your face if possible – flu and cold viruses can get into your body this way. If you have an urge to itch, use the back of your hand if you must as it will be less contaminated.
    • Never eat without cleaning or washing your hands first, particularly on planes, trains, tubes or when out and about – think where your hands may have been!
    • At cocktail parties, buffets or where finger food is on offer, see above! If you have to keep shaking hands, use the right hand to shake hands, and the left hand to eat. No one will notice, but it could make all the difference to you – remember we know that many people don’t wash their hands after going to the loo – do you want their germs on your canapés?

    If someone is ill in your household – there is no need for you all to get it!

    I’m conscious that the sick person will need sympathy, but you need to try to contain the illness so everyone doesn’t get it.

    • Try to keep them in one place so they keep the germs contained
    • Give them their own hand towel and remind them to wash their hands after using the loo, or after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose if they are going to be touching commonly used items (remote control, door handles etc) – tough love, but it is needed to protect everyone else
    • Wash your hands after helping them
    • Wash up very carefully – dishwasher is great, but otherwise use a disinfectant or a hot water rinse after washing
    • Keep the lid on the toilet when flushing to stop the germs flying around the bathroom
    • Encourage people to cough or sneeze into their elbow if they don’t have a tissue – saves hands getting contaminated
    • Clean hand contact surfaces such as door handles, flush handles, taps, bannisters etc with anti-viral spray or wipes (read labels of disinfectants)
    • Did I mention washing your hands? Frequently and always before eating or rubbing your eyes (or putting in contact lenses)

    Sometimes, I admit, you can’t stop getting ill – if someone coughs or sneezes in your face for example, but following my tips should help to reduce the risks of those winter bugs getting in!

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