Cold weather plus stores packed with shoppers are just two of the ingredients that add up to increasing your chances of getting sick this holiday season. Parking spaces are few, but germs – many! Here are some tips to help you enjoy spreading cheer while steering clear of the germs being shared.
Do Your Best to Stay Germ-Free
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that keeping your hands clean is one of the most important ways to fight illness and stop the spread of germs. The organization recommends washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds whenever possible, and washing your hands before eating anything is also very important. In a pinch, using hand sanitizer will do the trick as well.1
- Avoid touching your face. Be conscious of keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Adults touch their faces 15-20 times daily, children much more frequently, increasing the spread of germs.
- Utilize the cart wipes offered at most stores, or bring your own.
- “I’d wipe it down as thoroughly as I could, it will reduce your risk of getting sick. Obviously, I wouldn’t touch my face or rub my nose, or touch my eye or anything while I was shopping, because even though you’ve wiped down, you’re still at risk,” said Dr. Dan Allan of the Cleveland Clinic.
- Try to touch as little as possible in stores and restaurants.
- “That stuff can survive for weeks on a railing, on an elevator button, a door handle or anything that you’re shopping [for] or looking at. So, if you don’t wash your hands, there really is no real way to guarantee that you’re not going to get sick,” said Allan.2
Avoid Stressing Out
Holidays can be a trying time for many. There’s shopping to be done, cookies to be baked, presents to be wrapped. The stress of the season can weaken your immune system, making it just that much easier to get sick.
- Try to manage your schedule and your commitments. Don’t over-extend, spreading yourself too thin trying to get to the mall, a holiday party, and a trip to seeSanta all in one outing. Take time to keep your stress managed by limiting your destinations, or committing to only one or two things at a time. You’ll enjoy yourself more, and be able to appreciate the moment, without needing to rush to the next stop.
- Eat healthy and timely. It’s super easy to grab a cup of coffee and cinnamon scone at the bakery, but it won’t keep you satisfied for long, and you’ll be looking for something else quickly. Try to eat before leaving the house, and keep a stash of vegetables, nuts, or dried fruits in your bag if you need to snack in a pinch! Remember those high in the immune-boosting Vitamin C, like oranges and broccoli!
Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean at Home
There’s so much to love about this time of year. Moments spent with family, happiness and laughter, and the gift of friendship. No one’s wishlist includes colds, the flu, or body aches that can make you miss out on them! Here are a few simple steps you can take:
- Avoid smoking indoors (quitting smoking is best for overall health)
- Remove shoes at door
- Dust surfaces and vacuum frequently
- Make sure exhaust fans are functioning in your bathrooms and kitchen
- Minimize air freshener use
Indoor air pollution can increase a person’s chances of having flares of chronic lung problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are also likely longer-term effects from ongoing exposure that are more difficult to measure, such as the likelihood of lung cancer from radon exposure, as well as secondhand and thirdhand smoke.
“In addition to worsening the symptoms of asthma and other chronic respiratory problems, indoor air pollution can also cause irritation of the nose, throat, eyes and lungs,” Dr. Khatri says.3
Although opening windows helps ventilate your home, car or office, that’s not always possible due to allergies or extreme temperatures. Consider using air filters and getting your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems) checked regularly. “Air purifiers and aromatherapy can often make air quality worse unless they are the right kind,” Dr. Khatri says. “They need to be HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) air filters.” 3
To decrease the risk of illness in your home, consider an air filtration device like the Defender Air Purifier, by FilterQueen. It is recognized by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device, and filters 99.99% of airborne pollutants down to 0.1 micron in size.