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Does it seem like everyone at home, work, or in your social group has had a cold or the flu lately? I’m in that boat – my husband, my sister, my daughter, a few co-workers have all been sick at one point or another over the last few weeks. So how do I keep from being the next one to go down?  child with cold

  • Get the flu vaccine. It isn’t too late; flu season often lasts until at least March and often May.
  • Remind family members or coworkers who are sick to stay home for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever (without medication).
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Frequently clean touched surfaces and objects. Doorknobs, light switches, counters, computer keyboards, phones, around sinks, copiers, etc.
  • Always cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid shaking hands – do a head bob or wave.
  • Don’t touch your face. Viruses enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth. Teach children not to chew on pencils, fingers, or toys. Don’t smoke either.
  • Get your Covid mask back out. If you are around people who have been sick, or you are/have been sick – start wearing a mask again. Just avoid touching it often.
  • Ask your boss if you can work from home. Depending on your job, you may be able to work at home for a few days to keep your germs away from others or avoid someone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Get your blood pumping with aerobic exercise. It increases our body’s natural virus immunities.
  • Eat bright fruits and vegetables. Select broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, mangos, sweet potatoes, kale, beets, colorful peppers, citrus fruits, and berries.
  • Change out your drinks. Stay hydrated, avoid too much alcohol which can dehydrate you, and drink black and green teas or small amounts of juices with vitamin C.
  • Get enough rest. Even adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per day.
  • Reduce stress. Do mindfulness activities, spend time on hobbies, laugh, dance, be positive, and connect with friends or family.

Many of these ideas seem obvious, but sometimes we just need a reminder. I plan to stay hydrated with my favorite’s teas, get plenty of rest, enjoy some hobby time with a new book, watch a few funny movies, and eat plenty of fruits and veggies.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.

Reviewer: Ryan Kline, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development/Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.

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