Sniffles and Sneezes, S'Not Much Fun

by DavalosMcCormack on October 30, 2008

Half the people I know seem to have some sort of bug these days; a cough, a slightly sore throat, more than usual amount of sneezing. No one is saying they have the flu, most of these are probably just the beginning of a cold, but you can definitely tell that winter is on the way.

So how do you protect yourself against all these viruses and bugs flying around. Well, in many cases it’s almost impossible to prevent being exposed to them. They are everywhere.

A new study, commissioned by the makers of Lysol disinfectant, found that refrigerator doors and TV remote controls were very popular places to pick up bugs. People would sneeze, wipe their nose, touch the remote and leave the virus on the remote. Up to 48 hours later the virus was still on the remote. That means anyone touching the remote was at risk of picking up the virus.

A few years ago I did a similar story for TV news. We tested several heavily trafficked areas to see which ones had the most signs of bacteria and virus. We found that toilet door handles and ATM keypads were the ones that had the most evidence of things you really wanted to avoid.

So what can you do? Well, you can carry around a little bottle of hand disinfectant and use it every time you touch something that someone else might have touched. Or you can try and get money out of an ATM by pushing buttons with your elbows.

Neither strategy is really very practical. It is not a bad idea to have some hand sanitizer handy for when you need it, but using it every few minutes would mean spending most of your day washing your hands.
The best way to stay healthy is to be healthy. Now stop me if you’ve heard this before. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep. Those three steps will help you keep your immune system strong, and that more than anything will protect you against viruses.

Secondly, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your hands to your face whenever possible. Your nose, eyes and mouth are the main entry points for disease into your body. Putting your hands to your face transmits whatever bugs and bacteria are on them to you.

Finally, avoid people who have colds and flu. That doesn’t mean shunning them, it simply means keeping a safe distance between you and them, don’t kiss them, don’t share cups or anything that might transmit viruses from them to you, that includes shaking hands too!
Or you could just accept that colds are really quite a normal thing to have in the winter and stop trying to hide from them. It might mean a few days of sniffling and sneezing and stuffy nose, but it could also be quite liberating.

Think how much easier life would be if you just went out and lived it instead of trying to create a protective bubble around yourself.

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