Thursday, 3 October 2013

How to stay healthy when everybody around you is sick. And how to keep your loved ones healthy when you've got a cold.



Okay so it's "cold and flu" season.

This time of year the bus turns into an absolute cesspool of horrid coughing sniffling maniacs who have no idea how to keep their sick to themselves. To the right we've got the overly dramatic coughing man, to the left the sneeze into his hand guy, and up in front the lady with two kids who are all but licking the seats.

Every article I've read this entire season seems to have the single minded goal of selling supplements and vitamin C and immune boosters. I suppose this can also help you fight off illness once you come in contact, but all these articles are missing one very important piece of the puzzle.

Cross contamination.

How does a germ get from a sick guy over there into your body? Because somehow their bodily fluids have come in contact with yours. Gross, right? Well here are some stay-healthy tips from a bit of a germophobe.

How to stay healthy when everybody around you is sick.

Wash your hands. A lot. If you feel like you're washing your hands a weird amount of times, or if somebody comments on how often you wash your hands, you might be doing it juuuust enough. Wash them before and after using the bathroom. Wash them before and after you eat. Wash them after using any sort of public transport. Wash them if you touch money. Wash them before and after touching your mouth or eyes. Wash them if you touch anything gross. You get the point.

Watch what surfaces a lot of people touch, and avoid touching those same surfaces. If you are nowhere near a nice sink with soap, this is your next best defense.

If you shake hands with people, say at work or whatever, wash your hands asap. We keep a bottle of that weird alcohol gel hand cleaner stuff under the front counter at the tattoo shop in case somebody insists on shaking hands about something.

Don't be afraid to move away from anybody who is coughing or sneezing near you. Even if it's your boss, just take a few subtle steps back. Change seats on the train. It's for your own good.

Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Germs on your hands need a nice moist opening to get into your body. That's what she said. But really, this works. Don't touch your mouth or eyes unless you have to. That goes for eating on public transit, absolutely disgusting.

 Okay guys! So going outdoors with wet hair won't get you sick. Sharing a lollipop with your buddy might.

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How to keep your loved ones healthy when you've got a cold.

This is easy. KEEP YOUR GERMS TO YOURSELF.

Sneeze and cough into your elbow/upper arm area. Not your hands. Never your hands. I know coughing into your hands was considered polite in 1982 but it's disgusting!!!! The germs are in your saliva, which, like it or not, flies out of your mouth, like all the time. So you cough into your hand, then think about what you touch next. It's so disgusting watching people on the bus do this, then push the button for their stop and walk down the aisle touching every single post and then the door on their way out the bus.

This also stops the diseases present in your coughs and sneezes from becoming airborne. Airborne germs can easily be inhaled by those around you. Yuck, even thinking about that makes me want to go to Japan, where it's normal to wear a mask on public transit.

Don't be that dramatic sick person, try and keep your coughs and sneezes to yourself. If you're a yell-sneezer or super loud cougher, that means you're opening your mouth wider, letting more saliva fly out. I know, it's gross, but it's the truth.

Again, wash your hands. At work I was impressed and relieved when one of the tattoo artists I work with had a cold. He would go into the bathroom, blow his nose, then wash his hands afterwards. It's little things like that that make the difference.

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Of course nothing is fool proof, sometimes you just get in the line of fire of a misplaced cough. But these simple things can definitely improve your chances of staying healthy. Good luck!

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