How to Prevent the Flu and Other Viral Colds

How to Prevent the Flu and Other Viral Colds

The flu, and other viral colds, are some of the most common reasons people feel under the weather. It doesn’t even have to be flu season to catch the flu. Catching any type of cold can be hard to avoid, leaving you with congestion, a cough, sore throat, or many more symptoms. 

In light of the COVID-19 virus, people all around the world have been taking their health into even greater consideration. Here, learn effective ways to prevent flu viruses and other contagions from spreading, and how to manage living under the ongoing pandemic. 

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips to Protect Yourself

There are many tips available that can help you learn how to prevent the flu and other germs from getting you sick. This is especially important during the flu season, when the spread of viruses is more common.  Keep reading to learn more about our cold and flu prevention tips that you can practice daily.

1. Wear a Face Mask

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of face masks in everyday life has become a normal thing. Fortunately, face masks are also an excellent tool for influenza prevention and protection from other viruses. Wearing a face mask in public can prevent colds and other flu viruses from being able to infect you.

2. Wash your Hands Regularly

Using soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands is a key step in the prevention of the common cold and other viruses. 

Washing for at least 20 seconds is recommended in order to eliminate the most germs and get the most out of your flu and cold prevention. If soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be an effective alternative. 

You should wash your hands after touching something in public that could contain germs such as door handles, public phones, etc. If you are in public or your hands are not clean, you should try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to minimize the spread of germs. 

3. Keep your Distance from People Who are Sick

If you are wondering how to protect yourself from the flu during flu season, you should keep at least 6 feet away from people who are currently sick. Avoid close contact with people such as kissing, hugging or shaking hands with each other. Move away from people who are coughing and sneezing, especially if they are not covering their mouths. 

4. Practice Good Health Habits

Strengthening your body through good health habits is an effective way to protect yourself against getting sick and prevent flu symptoms. Eating a balanced diet and regularly getting exercise can boost your immune system and prepare it to fight off potential sickness. It is also essential to get enough sleep because a lack of sleep can weaken your immunity. 

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips to Protect Others 

Those who want to know how to prevent colds and flu viruses from spreading to others can practice a few steps to reduce their risk. 

These steps do not guarantee that viruses will not spread, however they are effective in minimizing the opportunities for spread. Keep reading to learn more on how to protect others with these cold and flu prevention tips.

1. Stay Home Of You Are Feeling Sick

If you begin to feel as though you are developing symptoms of a cold or the flu, it could be wise to stay home and avoid spreading germs. 

While most people will recover from cold or flu symptoms within 7-10 days, by avoiding being around other people while your symptoms are at their worst, you can avoid spreading the virus too. 

The most common symptoms you may feel when you get sick include:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headaches 

2. Cover Your Mouth and Nose If You Cough or Sneeze (Or, You Can Wear A Mask)

Sometimes when you are feeling under the weather, you may still need to go out in public to visit the pharmacy or go see your doctor. In order to prevent the flu or cold from spreading, you should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze. 

If you do not have a tissue available, try to cough or sneeze into the inside of your arm (an area that you will not use to touch things later on). Or, you can simply wear a mask.

Staying at least 6 feet away from people and wearing a mask can prevent germs and bacteria particles from spreading from you to those around you. 

3. Disinfect Surfaces and Objects Around you Regularly

Routinely cleaning surfaces and objects that are commonly touched throughout the date, such as keyboards, phones, light switches, etc, can help prevent cold and flu germs from spreading. 

It can be easy to overlook just how many places we can pick up germs from as we go about our day. Germs can often linger on surfaces for a long time, so frequent disinfecting is recommended for optimal safety. 

Using alcohol-based disposable wipes and other disinfectants can help kill germs before they have the chance of infecting anyone. UV-cleansing lights are also a suitable option for disinfecting surfaces and objects. 

4. Learn the Outbreak Plan

Many schools, childcare programs, colleges, and places of business have plans in place in the event of an outbreak of the flu or other illnesses. It is essential to learn whether or not flu vaccinations are offered on site, how sick students and staff will be separated from others, and who will care for them until they are able to get home. 

Being prepared in the event of an outbreak can help minimize the spread and prevent colds and viruses from spreading.

Receiving a Flu Vaccination

One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the flu, and to avoid catching colds, is to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu on a yearly basis. 

Flu vaccines, also known as flu shots or flu jabs,  protect the body against getting infected by different strains of flu viruses. Twice a year, new versions of the vaccines are developed to keep up with the new versions of the flu viruses that develop and spread amongst the general population.  

These vaccines can help Vaccines for COVID-19 are also beginning to roll out and can be the best defense against the virus. Receiving a vaccine can prevent you from ever catching the flu at all. 

Flu vaccines are oftentimes free, and are available to receive anywhere from your doctors office to your local pharmacy. Pharmacies that offer flu shots across the country are Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and many others. 

Antiviral Drugs for Treatment

If preventative measures fail and you end up catching the flu or another cold, there are certain prescription antiviral drugs that can help to treat your condition. 

Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that can be in the form of pills, liquid, inhaled powder and even an intravenous solution that you will have to get through a shot. 

To receive antiviral drugs, you’ll have to get a prescription from a doctor or other health care providers as they are not sold over the counter.  

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, because antibiotics are medication for bacterial infections or diseases, whereas antiviral medications are to treat viruses. 

The CDC, or the Center for Disease Control, recommends that people who are at higher risk such as the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes (including gestational diabetes) or heart disease are recommended to get early treatment to avoid getting further sick from the cold or flu you contracted.