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6 top cold and flu prevention tactics

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From the Holladay Health Corner

By Maureen Johnson, HR Director (South Bend, IN)

There are several steps you can take to help prevent catching the flu and reduce the spread of viruses that cause it. It’s easier than you think, read below for tips and advice.


  • Get vaccinated. Vaccination is the first step to flu prevention. In general, all healthy people should get vaccinated. The CDC now recommends that, in addition to other high risk groups, all healthy children get a flu vaccination. Please check with your family physician if you have any questions about whether or not you or any of your family members should be vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Cold and flu viruses may be spread by indirect contact. Maybe someone sneezes onto their hand and then touches a doorknob, only to have the virus picked up by the next person who also touches it. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent getting sick.
  • Do the elbow cough. Since viruses cling to your bare hands, you can reduce the spread of viruses by perfecting the art of the elbow cough. When you cough, simply cover your face with your entire elbow. It’s also an easy technique to teach kids.
  • Disinfect common surfaces. Viruses that cause colds and flu can survive on common surfaces for up to 72 hours. Don’t forget to use a disinfectant on phone receivers, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
  • Drink Water*. Water can help strengthen your immune system, keeping the flu at bay. And if you do get sick, water flushes your system, re-hydrates you and washes out the toxins. An adult should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day. If the color of your urine is close to clear, then you are getting enough. If it’s deep yellow, drink more water.
  • Stay home if you are sick. And limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season!

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