Tuesday Tip: Fighting Cold & Flu Season
Windsor, ON - With cold and flu season in full swing, St. Clair College Nursing Faculty Beverley Jones says there are some key things you should be doing to arm yourself against catching a virus, and some simple strategies to getting better if you are sick.

First and foremost, she says hand hygiene needs to be top of mind at all times.

Throughout the day, you come in contact with surfaces that many others have touched as well and may be contaminated. Before eating or touching your face or mouth, it is especially important to properly sanitize your hands.

Nursing Faculty Beverley Jones.
Nursing Faculty Beverley Jones.

And for those who are sick, to prevent spreading your illness to others, you need to make sure to wash your hands whenever you sneeze or blow your nose.

This brings Jones to her next point: Kleenexes should only be used once, then tossed in the trash.

"People shove it in their pocket in case they need it later, and I know your grandmother may tuck it up her sleeve to recycle, but don't do this," stressed Jones, adding that the germs easily seep through the thin tissue. "Get rid of it and wash your hands right away."

You should always try to sneeze into a Kleenex, followed by washing your hands, but if you don't have one, sneezing into your arm works to prevent spreading the germs as well.

Jones says hot, dry spaces inspire viruses to replicate and spread, which is why there are so many outbreaks in the wintertime when furnaces are kept on to heat indoors.

So if you do get sick, Jones says to be sure to rest lots and stay hydrated.

"If you you've got a low-grade temperature and you're feeling miserable, keep it at home and get rid of it," says Jones. "And don't go shoveling or something, thinking that you can sweat it out while you exercise. No, this doesn't work. Your system is already taxed so just rest."

Staying hydrated with lots of water and juice - avoiding alcohol and caffeine - gives your system a little more of a chance to fight, says Jones.

Jones also suggests not running out to a clinic or emergency room right away if you're feeling sick, as you can catch a virus while there.

"When you have both severity and duration, go see a doctor," says Jones. "So give it 48 hours. Try your own self medications and care, but if you've been miserable for a couple of days and you know you're feeling worse and it's not getting better, then go see a doctor."