Does That Cold or Flu Have You Sick Again?

Winter (and spring) have always been known as “cold and flu” season. In spite of the many precautions we take (e.g., getting a flu shot, taking vitamins, etc.) some people always manage to get sick.
Illnesses can take such a toll on us that we can became afraid to go anywhere and do anything. We don’t eat at busy restaurants – or restaurants where there were lots of children. We don’t eat or shop at any place with food unless you can see that those handling the food wore plastic gloves. We may even give up airline travel because prior trips always resulted in illness. While you can control your personal life, there was no way to avoid the fact that you are going to come in contact with sick people.
Here are a few tips for staying healthy both in the office and at home.
AT THE OFFICE
Clean your work area. Armed with a can of disinfectant, thoroughly clean your work area, wearing a mask (that you can get at any drug store). Make this a habit and clean everything including your desktop, keyboard, mouse, monitor, paper trays, etc.
Get carpets vacuumed. Leave a note for the janitorial staff, asking them to vacuum the carpet in your work area daily. If you’re not able to make this request, find out what day the carpets are vacuumed. Then, on that day, spray a light coat of disinfectant on the carpet when you leave.
Change your chair. Switch from a cloth to a vinyl chair. If a vinyl/leather chair isn’t an option due to cost constrains at the office, do one of the following: (a) get permission to purchase your own chair; or (b) use upholstery cleaner that you can spray on and wipe off to clean the material. Then, on a weekly basis, spray the chair with a disinfecting spray.
Hand washing. Each time you use the restroom, wash your hands both before and after your visit. Never touch the paper towel holder. Instead, as you enter the restroom, take some paper towels. Then, each time you wash your hands, your clean hands are only touching paper towels. When you return to your desk, use some hand sanitizing gel.
Meetings/Gatherings. Never sit near anyone that appears to have a cold – even if the person claims it is just allergies. After each meeting, wash your hands.
Use your own pen. Make sure to have your own pen handy. Make it something highly decorative. If you are offered a pen by others, explain this is your “lucky” pen so as to not offend anyone when a pen is offered.
Beverages. Opt for environmentally friendly drinking cups (if possible) that you can dispose of after being used. If your company only offers Styrofoam cups, bring in your own supply of paper cups to keep at your desk.
One tissue, one time. It’s very common to use a tissue and inadvertently leave it on your desk at times when you are very busy. Make a conscious effort to toss the tissue away immediately.
Move the air. Since germs breed in stagnant air, put a small fan in your work area (if you have no windows to open) to keep the air moving. Occasionally, give a quick spray of disinfectant in front of the fan to disperse it into the air.
Germ spreaders. If you sit close to someone who is always sick and never covers their nose/mouth when sneezing, you need to take precautions. When this person leaves in the evening, spray an unscented disinfectant in their work area. Then avoid this person at all costs.
BODY AND HOME
When it comes to airborne germs, your approach needs to be focused on your own body. After all, you do have to live in the world and be exposed to germs.
Sleep. First and most important is to make sure you get sufficient sleep every night during your typical sick months. Make sure the room is conducive for rest and the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold.
Diet. Modify your diet by eating real food versus filling yourself full of supplements.
Vitamin C. Increase your intake of citrus fruits. Go to a specialty market to get the freshest fruits you could find. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more, but it’s worth the price if you can avoid getting sick. Oranges and Grapefruit are generally cheaper during the winter months.
Fruits and Vegetables. Add 100% fruit and vegetable juices to every meal and for snacks.
Protein. Two of the most important minerals you can have for a strong immune system are iron and zinc. Increase your consumption of these minerals through proteins such as lean meats. Plus, include dairy, eggs, and legumes to ensure you are getting sufficient amino acids.
Towels/Sponges. As a child, did your mother have a hand towel in the kitchen? Since hand towels – and sponges – are a germ playground, buy inexpensive paper towels and sponges at the local dollar store.
Smoking. Stay away from anyone or anyplace where smoking is a possibility. Fortunately, most states have laws where smoking is not permitted in public.

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