Autumn marks the beginning of cold and flu season! Fall and winter, specifically October through March, represents the most prevalent time for infectious respiratory illnesses. Upper respiratory tract illnesses, by way of a virus, are common during this time.
Influenza, or the flu, is caused by a respiratory virus that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. While some may be dismissive about the flu, flu is responsible for an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths on average every year in Canada.
What can you do to stay healthy during the cold and flu season?
All Canadians six months of age and older are eligible to receive their annual flu shot, and we highly recommend getting yours each year. They are typically made available between October to March via public health clinics, pharmacies, and through your primary care provider.
Wash your hands
Handwashing is paramount.
The simple practice of handwashing priorto eating and when coming home from an outing minimizes the spread of respiratory diseases.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under warm water with soap, andyou’re your hands fully. Alternatively, utilize an alcohol-based hand cleaner with 60% alcohol content.
Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth
Trying to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic made many of us much more aware of how often we touch our face, eyes, nose or mouth. Try to avoid it as best possible but sometimes it’s necessary. When you do, make the effort to wash your hands immediately.
Clean and/or disinfect high contact surfaces
Regularly cleaning or disinfecting high contact surfaces and shared items such as doorknobs, light switches, remotes, and phones can help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses.
In today’s office environment, many of us are sharing desk space, so you may want to get in the habit of disinfecting your work space, too. A study by the University of Arizona found the typical worker’s desk, which tends to be your smartphone’s home for about 40 hours a week, has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat.
Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm/elbow
Avoid coughing or sneezing directly into your open hand. Use tissues, dispose of them after use, and wash your hands. Have a cold or not feeling well? Avoid shaking hands with anyone to help protect others.
Stay home when you’re not feeling well
Stay home and try to isolate yourself from others as soon as you start to feel unwell including symptoms of new fatigue, respiratory symptoms, feeling feverish, etc.
Avoid exposure with anyone who is ill
Reschedule plans with family and friends when someone is unwell.
Take care of yourself
Focus on the healthy lifestyle basics to help your body prepare and fight off potential illness.
- Get enough sleep
- Stay hydrated
- Eat healthy foods including fresh, whole foods, vegetables and fruit that offer your body proper nutrition
- Exercise regularly
- Manage and reduce your stress
Stay healthy and happy!
Learn more about INLIV’s Total Health Management Program.