Nobody likes getting sick. The congestion. The aches. The everything. But if you get paid hourly or rely on tips, catching the flu or a stubborn cold could cause you to call in sick and lose income.
In addition to drinking plenty of water, here are seven ways to avoid getting sick and missing work:
1. Get a flu shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot.1 It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to start protecting against the flu virus, so the CDC recommends getting your shot before flu season starts (mid-late October).2 For more info, check out their article on key facts about seasonal flu vaccine.
2. Use soap & water over sanitizers
For the record, hand sanitizers can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.3 But when it comes to the most effective way to kill germs, soap and water is still #1.4 Try to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds for a thorough cleaning. If you need a timer, hum the tune “Happy Birthday” two times in a row.
3. Try not to touch your face
Easier said than done, right? But there’s good reason for this tip. Your nose, eyes and mouth are some of the most common places germs get into your body.5 Washing your hands can help, but to be extra safe, only touch your face using a tissue or clean cloth. And if you bite your fingernails — all of the germs living underneath them should be a good enough reason to stop!
4. Disinfect shared areas & objects
Germs are everywhere, especially on surfaces we share with other people. Thanks to science, there are plenty of disinfecting wipes and sprays available that kill the bacteria sick (or dirty) people leave behind. Here are some of the germiest areas and objects you should clean as much as possible:
- Light switches
- TV remotes
5. Get your ZZZ
Lack of sleep won’t just make you cranky — it could make you sick. When you sleep, your body creates and releases infection-fighting antibodies.6 The less you sleep, the less time your immune system has to build up a strong defense. So, go ahead and hit snooze a few times. It’ll help you stay healthy.
6. Moisturize dry air
Your nose is full of tiny hairs called cilia that protect your nasal and respiratory passages.7 When they’re dry, cilia can’t stop bacteria, germs, dust and other particles from getting in.8 By using a humidifier, your cilia stay moist and able to defend your passages at full strength. Double bonus: humidifiers can help you breathe easier and sleep better, too.9
7. Eat and drink healthy
Your body works hard to not get sick. To supercharge the fight, there are plenty of foods and drinks loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and probiotics to support your immune system. Here are a few to add to your grocery list during flu season, or all year around to stay healthy:
- Green, black or ginseng tea
- Greek yogurt
- Wild salmon
No flu for you
Getting sick can be painful, especially if you don’t have paid time off at work. But with these tips, you can protect your body and bank account from whatever this flu season has in store.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm (accessed October 15, 2019).
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm (accessed October 15, 2019).
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html (accessed October 16, 2019).
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings.” CDC.gov.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others.” CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html (accessed October 16, 2019).
6. Olson, M.D., Eric J. “Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?” Mayoclinic.org. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757 (accessed October 16, 2019).
7. Sylvane. “4 Reasons to Use A Humidifier During Flu Season.” Sylvane.com. https://www.sylvane.com/blog/4-reasons-to-use-a-humidifier-during-flu-season/ (accessed October 16, 2019).
8. Sylvane. “4 Reasons to Use A Humidifier During Flu Season.” Sylvane.com.
9. Sylvane. “4 Reasons to Use A Humidifier During Flu Season.” Sylvane.com.