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In a world of flu, colds and germs, we asked physicians and nurses across Florida Hospital how they stay healthy year-round. Here are some of the answers we received.
- Wash/sanitize your hands frequently. Doctors and nurses constantly disinfect their hands to avoid exposing patients and themselves to germs. Wash your hands often throughout the day, especially after using the bathroom or being in public where you may have touched the same surfaces as dozens of other people (shopping carts, door knobs, water fountains, ATM buttons, etc.).
- Keep hand sanitizer on-hand. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a quick way to disinfect your hands. Hand sanitizers tend to be less irritating to your skin than repeated hand washing. In most cases, they're just as efficient at eliminating cold and flu germs as washing your hands.
- Sanitize surfaces. In hospitals and physician offices, disinfectant is used to wipe down everything from exam surfaces to computer keyboards. Do the same with high traffic areas in your home or office. Wipe down your desk, your phone, door knobs, any common areas, and where you eat at least once a day.
- Carry your own pen with you. This way you have your own so when you're at the bank, school or office, you won't be tempted to touch one covered in germs from lots of people.
- Clean your vacuum regularly. Cleaning and replacing your vacuum cleaner and A/C filters help reduce dust, which helps prevent congestion and watery eyes.
- Get a flu shot annually. Flu vaccinations aren't just for infants or the elderly. A flu shot can save nearly everyone days of illness and discomfort. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing so, you should get an annual vaccination. Flu shots are readily available at physician offices, pharmacies and medical clinics.
- Boost your immune system. If you're in good general health and have a well-functioning immune system, you're less likely to get sick. And if you do come down with something, the intensity and duration should be less that someone who isn't healthy. The main factors that affect your immune system are nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress levels.
- Eat seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. It gives your immune system a boost because they're packed with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for overall good health.
- Laugh and laugh a lot. It minimizes stress, which can weaken immune systems.
- Hold your breath. If you're around someone who is sick, sneezing and coughing, don't inhale deeply. Most germs enter your body through your mouth or nose.
- Get enough sleep. Your body needs at least eight hours to recharge.
- Fuel up for the day. Breakfast is your most important meal of the day!