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  • 4 Best Ways To Stop Flu And Colds From Spreading In Your Family (And The Person Beside You)

    Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is one important tip.
    by Kate Borbon .
4 Best Ways To Stop Flu And Colds From Spreading In Your Family (And The Person Beside You)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • On Sunday, January 5, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III urged the Bureau of Quarantine to be on alert after an outbreak of a respiratory illness was confirmed in China. He also advised the public, especially those who had traveled to China, to seek medical attention if they experience any flu-like symptoms, like colds.

    In times when you never know when you or your child can get infected with a serious respiratory illness, practicing healthy habits can mean the difference between sickness and health. Learn about the things you can do to prevent the spread of colds and other flu-like symptoms in your household.

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    Wash your hands

    Experts agree that thorough and frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to protect oneself from illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the times when you are most likely to spread and get germs include before meals, after using the toilet, and after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who just used the toilet.

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    The CDC’s five steps to proper handwashing are:

    • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap, making sure to cover the backs of your hands and the spaces between your fingers and under your nails
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (one way to time this is by singing “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end two times)
    • Rinse your hands under clean running water
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them

    Use hand sanitizer

    When you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is the best alternative — but make sure you pick the right type. Your hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol since these are most capable of killing most bacteria and viruses on contact.

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    The proper way to use hand sanitizer is to apply an amount that will cover all the surfaces of your two hands, including the areas between your fingers, around your fingertips, and under your nails. Rub your hands together for at least 30 seconds until they are completely dry.

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    Cough into your elbow or sleeve

    Coughing or sneezing are two ways through which serious respiratory illnesses like the flu, whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread. Prevent this by making sure to use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, or, at the very least, sneezing or coughing into your elbow or sleeve.

    “If somebody sneezes into their hands, that creates an opportunity for those germs to be passed on to other people, or contaminate other objects that people touch,” Dr. Vincent Hill, chief of the CDC’s waterborne disease prevention branch, tells The New York Times.

    Get the flu vaccine

    Because influenza can cause serious complications, especially in young children, it is highly recommended that they are given the flu vaccine annually. According to the CDC, this is the best way to protect your child from the flu and its complications.

    Mayo Clinic notes that children between the ages of six months and eight years may require two doses of the flu vaccine, given at least four weeks apart, to get full protection from the virus. Other individuals who should get the flu vaccine are pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, or obesity.

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    Your child's coughing might signify a severe respiratory illness. Click here to learn how to know you can be sure of what her coughing might be a sign of.

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