Friday, December 07, 2007

Make your holidays flu free

Hoping to stay healthy for your holiday visit to Grandma's? While there's no foolproof plan to prevent you from getting sick during the coming weeks, there are simple steps you can take to greatly reduce the chances.

For those traveling, here are suggestions to help guard against germs and viruses:

*Drink lots of water before and during your flight.
*Try to catch some sleep on the way.
*Bring a scarf or a small blanket on the plane, train or bus to bundle up with in case you get cold.
*Turn up the air on a plane or bus. It can help push away the germs that might float into your space.
*Keep to your schedule. Try not to change your daily eating, exercising and sleeping habits.

And here are tips we all should follow:
*Wash your hands often. Viruses can survive on your hands for hours and washing your hands often decreases your chances of getting sick. Use warm water, wash with soap for at least 20 seconds and, if possible, use a towel to turn off the faucet. If you are not near soap and water, an alcohol-based gel will do.
*Get vaccinated. Get a flu shot to protect yourself and your family over the holidays. October and November are the best months to get vaccinated, but it's never too late.
*Use care when cooking. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your holiday bird is cooked all the way through. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish and their juices away from other items. Wash your cutting board, knife and countertops with hot, soapy water after cutting meat. And finally, sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.

By taking a few extra precautions, you can help prevent the spread of viruses and reduce your odds of catching the flu. Enjoy a happy, healthy and safe holiday season! What additional tips do you have for travelers to avoid getting sick during the holidays?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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