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How to prevent the flu

So imagine that all day long, sick people are dropping by your desk. You invite them inside your office or cubicle and they proceed to cough, sneeze, vomit and sniffle their way through the visit. You’re only a few feet away and constantly in the line of germs. How confident do you feel you could stay healthy all season long?

As a family doctor, this is Dr. Sharon Domb’s daily reality. And amazingly, she’s very confident that she can stay healthy, based largely on her impressive track record of doing just that. She says her secret is actually pretty easy. The problem is, many people are skipping the easy things. Maybe they seem too simple, like handwashing? Dr. Domb calls hand hygiene her number one tip for staying flu free.

Maybe we’re just doing it wrong, or at the wrong times. Everyone knows to wash their hands after using the washroom, but do you then go on to turn off the tap with your freshly cleaned hands? Do you open the bathroom door without using a paper towel? If you answered yes to either, your hands would be crawling with germs mere seconds after you scrubbed them down.

It’s also critical to wash your hands every time before touching your eyes, nose or eating. Dr. Domb gives the common example of eating out at a restaurant. Most people will arrive, wash their hands, and then sit down to order and eat. The problem is menus are commonly handled items, so touching one before you eat just made that washroom visit moot.

Of course you can’t be washing your hands every 5 seconds. But doing it strategically is pretty powerful stuff. Check out my video for some other tips from the frontlines on keeping flu at bay this season. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

Flu Prevention 101 - infographic

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Flu Prevention 101

How Health Care Workers Stay Health During Flu Season

6 top tips from the frontlines

1. Wash your hands: Wash your hands well after using the washroom and before touching your face or eating.

2. Get your flu shot. It will take about 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to offer protection so get your shot early.

3. Boost your immune system. Eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, limit alcohol intake and exercise.

4. Keep surfaces clean. Clean shared surfaces often and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy.

5. Stay home when sick. Prevent the spread of the flu by staying at home and also keeping sick children out of school and daycare.

6. Get more information. Contact your local Public Health Unit for more information and vaccine clinic dates.

About the author

Monica Matys

Monica Matys

Monica Matys is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.