How to Keep Yourself Safe From Contagions
Contagious illnesses, from SARS, H1N1, the common flu, to the global pandemic COVID-19, are growing increasingly common in our globalized world.
As the new coronavirus continues to claim lives, devastate livelihoods, and create an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety, there is no time like the present to remind ourselves of all the ways we can protect ourselves and those around us from getting infected.
Here’s how to keep respiratory illnesses at bay.
1. Minimize contact with the sick and avoid sharing food and drink
It’s best to avoid close contact with those who are sick to prevent yourself from catching their germs. Infectious diseases can be easily spread when droplets from the nose and mouth of those infected land on you when they cough, sneeze, or even talk. These droplets might even land on surfaces, staying there for prolonged periods and getting on you when you touch those same surfaces.
Sharing food and drinks may be a great bonding activity, but it’s also a fast way for viruses to spread. If you are sharing dishes, use a serving spoon.
Similarly, avoid kissing or hugging your loved ones who are sick as well. If you want to hug a healthy family member, hug safely by facing opposite directions, instead of being face-to-face.
2. Wash your hands with soap often and avoid touching your face
Sometimes, it’s impossible to avoid people who are sick – especially when they’re your family member or a colleague who sits next to you at work.
In any case, it’s important to remember to wash your hands often using the 8-step handwashing routine. You should also have antiseptic wipes or hand sanitizer readily available in your bag – just in case you can’t find a sink anywhere.
It also helps to avoid touching your face to prevent viruses from entering your body through facial orifices.
As an added precaution, wash your hands with soap after coming home as well, because there are germs everywhere – be it at the coffee shop or on the bus.
3. Get vaccinated
Vaccinations prevent life-threatening illnesses from developing and help to create herd immunity for immunocompromised members of society. Reduce your risk of getting infected and keep your immune system strong by getting vaccinated against illnesses like influenza and measles.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get vaccinated today and remember to keep track of the shots you need on the Halza app.
4. Support your immune system with good nutrition
Having a healthy diet helps your body better prevent, fight, and recover from infections.
Although there are no miracle foods that can prevent or cure COVID-19, healthy diets are nonetheless important.
Make sure you:
- Eat a variety of food, including fruits and vegetables
- Limit your salt and sugar intake
- Don’t consume too much fat and oil
- Stay well hydrated
- Supplement your diet with immune system boosters like vitamin D
5. Keep up a healthy lifestyle
Having healthy habits is crucial to avoiding viruses. In addition to eating healthy, there are other ways you can have a healthier lifestyle.
Getting enough rest keeps your immunity strong. Avoiding smoking maintains lung health, which is what COVID-19, a respiratory illness, is known to attack.
Exercising regularly is also great at keeping you healthy, both physically and mentally. If possible, go for a daily walk or run to take in the fresh air. If lockdown restrictions are stricter where you are, find a space in your house to do some stretches or a floor workout routine.
6. Stay home as much as possible
The global lockdowns and travel restrictions have been the top way to keep COVID-19 from spreading. Many countries have seen case numbers drop after imposing lockdowns.
As a cure has not yet been found and there are no vaccinations available to prevent the virus from infecting people, one of the best ways to stay safe is to stay away from other people as much as you can. This especially reduces exposure to those who are asymptomatic.
7. Wear a mask if leaving the house
To keep harmful bacteria from entering your system, wear a mask. Many countries have already made wearing a mask mandatory, to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Take note that one mask should be worn for a maximum of eight hours and they have to be replaced if they are moist. Discard used disposable masks in a closed bin, handling only the straps. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after.
Of course, it’s still best to avoid crowded places entirely, if possible.
While there are ways to prevent respiratory illnesses from developing, harmful bacteria can still find ways into the body. If you’ve been hit by the flu bug or something similar, here are some ways you can speed up your recovery.
1. Visit the doctor to get antiviral medication
Antiviral drugs can help to offset flu symptoms, quicken the recovery, and prevent complications. These usually have to be prescribed by a doctor, so do not hesitate to visit your GP if you’re experiencing flu symptoms.
2. Stay hydrated with the right liquids
Being sick tends to result in a loss of fluids, which can lead to dehydration, so remember to drink lots of water to aid your recovery. If you’re not a fan of plain water, hot honey lemon water also helps – lemon is rich in Vitamin C, and honey can soothe coughs.
Hot caffeine-free teas are also good, especially if they are infused with herbs such as ginger, chamomile, and peppermint. Stay away from caffeine as it is a diuretic and can dehydrate you.
If you’re lacking appetite, go for soups as meals. They’re comforting, help you get the nutrition you need, and provide water content. Just make sure it’s not too high in sodium.
3. Stay home and rest
You might still want to soldier on at work even when sick, but as your body is fighting off the virus, it needs plenty of rest. Putting healthy colleagues and commuters at risk of catching your illness is also socially irresponsible.
Instead, call in sick if you really need to, and take time off to sleep – it’s more beneficial than showing up and having your work hampered because you’re unable to put in your 100%.
Get sufficient sleep as well because that’s when the body repairs itself.
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