It’s the time of year where we seemingly can’t move for people coughing and sneezing and it certainly seems that germs are rife. Whether we’re at work, home, school or out and about, it’s important that we do our bit to prevent the spread of germs and keep colds and flu away this winter. Follow our five handy tips to help keep germs at bay for a healthier, happier winter.
1. Keep your home clean
Germs and bacteria can spread easily around the home, which is an easy way for family members to pick up illnesses. The bathroom and kitchen areas are the most likely culprits as these areas tend to be damper, providing the moist areas which germs enjoy. Use antibacterial products such as sprays on surfaces and pay particular attention to worktops, taps and sinks. It’s also important that you clean any sponges or cloths that you’ve used for cleaning, as these can also cause germs to breed.
2. Practice good hygiene (and manners)
As well as keeping your home clean, it’s important that you keep yourself clean too. Shower or bath regularly and wash your hands often throughout the day. If you cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth (with a tissue or handkerchief if available) and bin any used materials where possible.
3. Stay at home
If you’ve developed a cold or have flu-like symptoms, stay at home. Even if you think you can manage to get to work, your colleagues will appreciate you staying at home. Germs spread quickly around offices thanks to the combination of air conditioning and heating and everyone working in close quarters. If your children are unwell, keep them off school until their symptoms ease, as classrooms are also breeding grounds for colds and other bugs.
4. Use antibacterial products
There is an abundance of antibacterial products available to help you kill germs and stop them spreading. Carrying an antibacterial hand gel around with you is a great way to stop the germs we pick up from different surfaces in their tracks. Invest in antibacterial wipes for your desk, and use them to clean your phone too – you’d be surprised at how many germs can be picked up from your phone.
5. Practice good food hygiene
It’s not just cold and flu that plague us over the winter period. Food poisoning and bacterial diseases can also affect us more at this time of year. Be sure to practice good food hygiene, wiping down areas which have been in contact with raw meat and fish, cooking foods thoroughly and washing fruit and vegetables before cooking them. Pay attention to ‘use by’ dates and if you’re in doubt about how a food looks and smells, it’s better to throw it away than to risk eating it.
6. It’s better not to share
When you’ve got a cold or other virus, it’s best not to share items such as cups and bottles, food utensils, towels, makeup products and other items which may be carrying germs. Wash your children’s toys regularly, especially if they share with others. Use hot, soapy water to wash your items and keep them free from germs.
When it comes to stopping the spread of germs, a lot of it is down to common sense. Practicing good hygiene and making sure that you keep common areas clean and sterilised will help to stop germs from spreading and getting people ill over the winter period. For more information on how to stop germs spreading around the home, you can find some great tips on basic home hygiene on the NHS website. Taking steps to prevent germs from spreading can help to stop colds and viruses from getting around, helping to alleviate the number of cases seen by the NHS over the winter period. Where possible, treat colds and flu at home and take steps to look after your health this winter to boost your immunity against frustrating winter illnesses.