How to Prevent Flu and Colds
They can be prevented in similar ways — both the flu and the common cold are viruses that are carried in water droplets, which are expelled from the mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze.
These droplets will stay in the air for a while, before settling on surfaces and contaminating them. You could become infected with these viruses by inhaling these droplets, or touching your mouth or nose after coming into contact with a contaminated surface.
To prevent getting sick, the best things to do are:
1. Avoid close contact with infected people
In winter months, viruses spread very quickly because people tend to stay indoors to avoid the cold weather. Avoiding prolonged close contact with those who are sick will reduce the chances that you will also get infected.
2. If you are sick, stay at home
Sometimes it can be impossible to avoid close contact with other people, especially at work or school.
If you are sick, you should stay at home to avoid spreading illnesses to others. Once a bug goes around the office, it is possible to get reinfected multiple times before the flu season has finished.
By reducing the number of people infected with the flu in your workplace or school, you reduce the chance you’ll get re-infected in the future.
3. Don’t spread germs, cover your mouth and nose
Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or handkerchief will prevent virus-carrying water droplets from dispersing into the air and spreading illnesses to others. This is especially important during flu season, even if you’re not currently sick or have been vaccinated.
4. Keep clean, wash your hands
Good hygiene prevents the spread of germs and bacteria. Making sure that you regularly use soap, water, and anti-bacterial gel reduces the chances that you will have infectious material on your hands that could make you sick, and reduces the likelihood you will spread infectious germs on surfaces that you touch.
5. Get the flu jab (flu only)
It is not possible to create a vaccination for the common cold as there are too many different viruses going around at one time to effectively vaccinate against it.
However, there is a vaccine for the flu. The flu jab does not guarantee full immunity against the flu, but it is the most effective method of preventing infection.
As the flu going round changes from year to year, you need to get a flu jab every year to make sure you are protected for that flu season.