Good health habits can help stop influenza germs

You can help avoid the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases by following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No single action will provide complete protection from influenza, but in addition to getting your yearly vaccination (if you are in a group recommended to receive it), an approach combining the following steps can help decrease the likelihood of transmission:

1. Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. “Close contact” can generally be defined as a distance of up to six feet, according to the CDC.

2. Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands when done.

4. Clean your hands often

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. The CDC generally recommends washing with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, you can use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers. Rub your hands until the gel is dry.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits

Support your immune system. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.