Cold and Flu Season is Here – Protect Yourself

Colds are most often transmitted from one person to another via the hands – for example, by shaking hands with a person who has a cold. Droplets containing the virus may be coughed or sneezed by an infected person into the air and inhaled by another. The virus may contaminate a surface such as a doorknob or countertop. Reduce your risk of getting a cold by following a few simple steps, and making them a habit.

1. Wash your hands often.

Washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds can help protect you from picking up a virus. Use plain soap and water, making sure to pay attention to spaces between fingers, and under the fingernails. Rinse and dry with a clean towel. Teach your children to wash their hands properly. Make sure to wash hands after sneezing or coughing, and before handling food.

2. Avoid touching your face.

Viruses can enter your body through the areas around your nose, mouth, and eyes. It is important to avoid touching your face, especially if you have not washed your hands.

3. Get your flu shot

No, it will not make you sick. Health Canada recommends everyone six months of age or older get a flu shot every year—ideally by the end of October, around the time flu season starts showing up. Every resident of Manitoba is eligible for a free flu shot. Get yours.

4. Get enough sleep.

You need more sleep when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re tired, your body isn’t able to fight as hard. Try for 8–10 hours a night to keep your system in tip-top germ-fighting shape.

5. Keep your distance from sick people.

This one might seem obvious, but it applies to more than just keeping a safe distance from sick strangers and colleagues— give sick family and friends a wide berth too, when possible. If you do have to interact with people who are sick, consider wearing a mask and make sure to be vigilant about washing your hands and not touching your face. 

6. Keep household surfaces clean.

Clean all household surfaces frequently to keep them germ-free. Viruses can live on surfaces for several hours after being touched by an infected person. Pay attention to the areas you touch most often and use soap and water or disinfectant cleaners to wipe off doorknobs, keyboards, phones, remote controls, desks, toys, countertops, faucet handles, and drawer pulls.

7. Keep hand sanitizer on hand. 

While washing your hands is good protection against cold and flu germs, sometimes you just are’t near a sink with running water and soap. Keep sanitizing gel or hand wipes on you at all times. Look for alcohol-based wipes and gels, which are more effective at killing germs than those without alcohol. 

8. Help others stay healthy too.

If, despite your efforts, you do get sick, try not to spread it around. Stay home. Ask family members to help out so you can rest. When you have to cough and sneeze, do so into the crook of your elbow, not into your hands.

While you can do a lot to protect yourself from cold and flu, sometimes it gets you anyway. Your Super Thrifty pharmacist can recommend the best products to help ease your particular symptoms and take into consideration any prescription medication you may be taking and allergies you might have. We can also advise you on how to take cold and flu medication properly and what side effects you may experience.