Director – Education, IPAC
These six tips can help you enjoy all the splendours of your favourite season! While enjoying a long-awaited pumpkin spice latte is near the top of my list, avoiding a cold or flu is the top priority of my seasonal plans.
Fall is a wonderful time of year — the air becomes crisp, leaves take on the perfect autumn hue, and we pull out our favourite sweaters. But, unfortunately, fall also signals the arrival of flu season.
Did you know that, on average, 12,000 Canadians are admitted to the hospital for flu-related illnesses each year? Flu season typically starts in late fall, so now is an opportune time to reinforce key tips about protecting yourself from getting and spreading colds and the flu.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses that enter our bodies through the eyes, nose, and mouth. This happens when someone ill sneezes or coughs, and the droplets are transferred into our body or after touching something contaminated.
There are easy ways that we can prevent getting sick — as well as manage the spread. These tips are simple, yet many of us continue to overlook them.
Wash your hands
And wash them often — especially after using the washroom, after sneezing or coughing, and before you eat. When using soap and water, scrub for at least 20 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Use disposable tissue or sneeze into your elbow to keep droplets off shared surfaces, your hands, and the people beside you!
Avoid touching your face
Don’t forget that the eyes, nose, and mouth are gateways for viruses to enter our bodies: the less contact, the less opportunity for infection.
If you’re sick — and especially if you have a fever — try to stay away from school, work, or group settings as much as possible.
Keep your space clean
Use a disinfectant to wipe down items you frequently touch, like doorknobs and phones.
Get the flu shot
Both the virus itself and the flu shot change each year. Everyone over six months of age should get the flu shot every fall. This is your best defence against the flu!