As if we didn’t have enough on our minds, cold and flu season is around the corner. And although COVID-19 has many people even more aware of how to prevent the spread of disease and avoid germs, it might be worth a refresher as we get closer to the fall and winter seasons. After all, we can protect ourselves from disease and strengthen our immune systems by practicing safe and sanitary habits when at home or out in public.
Respiratory diseases are easily spread and can make you susceptible to other illnesses. That’s why you should practice the habits below all year long, even when the COVID-19 pandemic is far behind us.
Tips for Staying Healthy and Avoiding Germs
Wash your hands frequently. One of the best ways to avoid and stop the spread of germs is to wash your hands frequently and well. Many people wash their hands often, but do not do a sufficient job of it. When washing your hands, use soap and warm water. Work up a good lather and continue to wash for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to get in between your fingers, on the front and back of your hands and up near your wrist. If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer can be effective as long as it contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Avoid touching your face. Most people touch their face frequently throughout the day – often much more than they realize! Take some time to track how much you touch your face and you will be amazed. When your hands aren’t clean, any germs present can be transferred to your eyes, mouth and nose and make you sick. Make an effort to wash your hands more frequently and avoid touching your face to minimize your chances of infection.
Don’t share. As children we all learned the value of sharing. However, when it comes to spreading germs, sharing is not a good idea. Avoid sharing food, beverages, utensils and lipstick. Other commonly shared items such as pens can carry germs, which can then be transferred to your hands and face. If you must share an item with others, wipe them down with anti-bacterial or disinfecting cloths or sprays.
Keep shared spaces clean and sanitized. When you work in an office setting, eat a meal at a restaurant or live in an apartment building, you will be sharing space with other people. Having disinfecting wipes available in shared spaces can encourage others to clean up after themselves. However, this is not always possible. Be sure to bring your own wipes, hand sanitizer or spray with you whenever you use a public, shared space.
Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand. If you are suffering from a respiratory infection, you probably won’t be able to control when you cough or sneeze. But you can control how you contain it. Resist the urge to cough or sneeze in your hands. Your hands touch hundreds or even thousands of surfaces each day. When your saliva and germs are deposited into your hands, they are easily spread to other surfaces, including door knobs, elevator buttons and countertops.
Stay home if you feel ill. Many people try to suffer through their illness to fulfill their work or personal responsibilities. While this may seem necessary or even commendable, it is always best to stay home and isolate when you feel sick. Not only will you get the rest you need to recover quickly and completely, you will prevent the spread of infection to coworkers, friends and the people you encounter in your daily life.
Buckhead Dermatology of Atlanta and College Park
While it may be impossible to avoid germs altogether, you can take steps to keep yourself and your family safe. By following the tips above, eating well, staying hydrated and keeping active, you can prevent colds and the flu during the upcoming season. At Buckhead Dermatology, we have been offering tele-health appointments with clients to help them stay safe and healthy during the pandemic.
If you have any questions about how to get dermatological care during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact our offices for more information. Buckhead Dermatology has two convenient locations in Atlanta and College Park ready to serve you.