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My Health

10 Tips on how to avoid germs without looking like a nutcase

May 1, 2009
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Iím not a doctor. I donít play one on TV, and I donít even watch ďHouseĒ. But what I can do is search the Internet for ways to avoid catching the bug-dejure.

Iím also not one to go around with rubber gloves and a mask on. So, whatís a semi-normal type to do to try and stay on the non-sick side of the equation?

With the help of some fine web sites that have real doctors, shamans and medical personnel Iíve put together a 10-point list of things to do (or not do). For the complete articles, see the footnotes, and read more for yourself (I wouldnít, but Iím just lazy that way).

1. Wash your hands often
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap to kill germs, especially after using the bathroom. Approximately 1 of 3 people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom? Don't be that guy.

2. Donít touch your face or your food
Hands are germ factories, so keep them away from your nose and mouth and your food. Use utensils. Keep your hands out of your face. One of the biggest ways to catch a cold is to touch something infected, then put your hands in your mouth, touch your nose, or rub your eyes.

3. Sanitize when your defenses have been compromised
Carry around a bottle of alcohol-based cleanser, and use them it if you suspect that youíve been exposed to the little germies. Also, don't go the other way and use it constantly. You need some germs just like they need you to survive.

4. Clean your cube with antiseptic wipes
Colds and flu are caused by viruses, which pass from person to person, or from surface to person. Regularly clean your desk, your phone, your pens, your PDA, you get the idea.

5. Avoid doorknobs, elevator buttons and common touch points
While you may follow the preceding advice and wash your hands, all those organisms, namely your co-workers are what you need to worry about. Use a paper towel or shirtsleeve to come in contact with common areas that everyone touches.

6. Donít touch
No handshakes, no hugs, no fist bumps if it can be avoided. There is a fine line between avoiding germs and being the creepo that wouldn't slap the high-5. Try and keep your distance even if youíre not sick.

7. Get the flu shot
A flu shot is essential to staying ahead of known strains of flu. While this latest one has not been included (as of May í09) in the current hypospray, it should be soon.

8. Say No to Sick Visitors
Before getting together with people, inquire if they are sick. If you know theyíre sick - stay away!

9. Take care of yourself
Do the basics -- eat right, sleep right, exercise right. The healthier you are, the less susceptible you should be to getting sick. Itís a common sense tip.

Drinking plenty of fluids will keep the body hydrated and will flush out toxins. Take a multivitamin and load up on Vitamin C to get any of the nutrients that you are missing in your diet. Foods like yogurt contain beneficial bacteria in active yogurt cultures that can also help prevent colds.

10. Stay home if you're sick
Want to keep everyone healthy? If you know you are sick, stay home. You may think you are being the hero by going in with a cold or the flu, but really youíre just being the selfish jerk of the office.

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