With a record-breaking flu outbreak, the emergency rooms across the nation are packed with sick help seekers with wait times exceeding eight and even 10 hours. If that's not enough of a reason to motivate you to be extra careful, what about reported medicine shortages and an alarming number of flu deaths?
You've heard of the usual__eat healthy, sleep well, and drink plenty. I'm not here to talk about that generic stuff you've heard a million times.
I'm a self-certified germaphobe. These days, I get to be very selective of my space most of the time because I control my work schedule. However, I'm out and about just as much as others at public places like coffee houses, grocery stores, public buildings and more. Even when I was working in social services and the public sector, I rarely got sick with the common cold or flu compared to many of my coworkers. I am absolutely certain that my OCD and germaphobia is the key.
The flu virus is being spread out-of-control. My absolute necessity is the Clorox Sanitizing Wipes. The travel size is a perfect thin pack of 15 sheets that I throw in my purse and car. Of course, it's impossible to sanitize everything and everywhere. But you can minimize risks by avoiding these high-trafficked germ pools.
Gas stations How many people do you think touch that gas pump or press those buttons before you come along? Do you really think the gas station employees think twice about cleaning outdoor gas pumps? You should be highly cautious with any public device with buttons such as ATMs and elevators. Avoid using your fingers. Instead, use elbows or wrap your finger with napkins or paper towels that are usually available at gas stations. If you must use your bare hands, sanitize before spreading germs all over your car. Speaking of your car, don't forget to wipe down your car door handles and steering wheel on a regular basis.
Restaurants While glasses and plates may be regularly washed, menus, napkin dispensers, condiment bottles don't. Even if they get wiped down sometimes, I'm almost certain it's not with sanitizing and germ-killing wipes. Ask yourself, how many patrons touch that menu or ketchup bottle before you? Also remember, restaurant staff can be sick too. Carry your own pens so you don't have to use public pens when paying with a credit card. Absolutely avoid direct contact with anything in the bathroom especially all door and faucet handles.
Grocery and Department Stores One of the things I avoid like a plague is touching carts and baskets, especially when the stores don't offer sanitizing wipes. Now that I carry my wipes everywhere, I'll use them when I reeeally need them. Be cautious of the highly used credit card processors with buttons at the check out line! I bet you they don't get wiped down ever. Again, avoid direct contact with anything if you really have to use the bathrooms.
Work Many get sick from and at work. That's because it's a highly shared space with shared equipment and supplies. Wipe down and avoid direct contact with high-trafficked items such as doors, keyboards, meeting space furnishing, lunch room appliances, water cooler levers, etc. I hate to say this but you should also avoid co-workers who are noticeably sick. If you handle money at work, avoid touching your face at all cost and thoroughly wash your hands or use sanitizers as often as possible.
Schools If you're a parent, you know that it is almost impossible for kids not to get sick and for you to not get sick from them. Habit is key. If your kids are old enough, teach them and remind them of cautious, germ-avoiding and hygienic habits daily. If they're not, sanitize them as soon as they get home if possible. Don't let them lounge around the house in clothes they've worn out. The whole family should wash up or wipe down before getting comfortable and changing into your lounge wear when home. It's important to reiterate and remind everyone to stop touching their face!
Home If you do not live alone, chances are you still need to be careful even at home. Refrigerator doors, cookie jars, TV remotes, faucets, and phones are all magnets for germs. You should sanitize your cell phone once a day. If you're around elderly parents or young children, you must be extra cautious as the flu can be deadly with their vulnerable immune systems.
In general, everyone gets sick. We can't live in a bubble. Your work and lifestyle may also impact your likelihood of getting the flu or cold. I'm not a juicing vegan who works out everyday and only eat non-processed food. I rarely get 8 hours of sleep and can definitely drink more water. But I've noticed that I do not get sick during flu season when everyone around me does.
The only thing I do differently than most is my OCD and detest of germs. My obsession with avoiding direct contact with public objects and door handles, love for sanitizing wipes, and constant need for personal space may be the key to getting sick less. I'm no medical expert. My tips are only meant to share what's worked for me and hope you'll find them helpful to keep you and your family healthy and out of the emergency room. Best of luck!
@YvonLux is a serial entrepreneur who owns a marketing and PR firm, VANT4GE, LLC, that specializes in target marketing, social media marketing and personal branding. The published lifestyle blogger also owns and designs for her custom-clothing line, Yvon Lux, and manages her empowering Apple News channel with the same name.