Winter’s cold temperatures are often blamed for the bouts of illness that come with the season. In fact, a problem far bigger than the actual temperature is the situations it creates. Cold temperatures force us into confined spaces—from packed subway trains to busy offices. These confined spaces make it easier for us to pick up germs and contract infections.
One of the best ways to prevent infections is good hygiene. Here are a handful of ways you can practice excellent hygiene in the winter, and come up on top against colds and flus.
Wash your hands… and dry them properly
Washing your hands seems like a no-brainer. However, experts agree that most people still aren’t washing their hands often enough, or for a long enough amount of time. Ideally, you should scrub your hands for 20 seconds. Another important thing to keep in mind is proper drying. Make sure you use a paper towel or fresh washcloth. Wet hands are much more likely to retain germs.
Don’t touch your face
A 2013 study revealed that people who regularly touch their eyes and noses are 41% more likely to get respiratory infections. It’s helpful to be aware of when you might be touching your facet. Do you lean your face against one hand while you read? Maybe you’re always scratching your nose or rubbing your eyes. Observe yourself for a couple of days, and then try to kick any infection-encouraging habits.
Do you best to avoid physical contact with sick people
If you pass up on a friendly handshake or a hug, people will understand. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Sorry, but I’m really trying to be careful about getting sick right now.”
Consider nasal cleansing
Pouring water up one of your nostrils might seem like an odd hygiene practice, but studies have shown it to be helpful for preventing colds. The saltwater solution actually cleans the tiny hairs inside your nose, which in term trap germs. You can purchase a neti pot for nasal cleansing at most drugstores—be sure to follow the instructions that come with it carefully.
Carry hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer should never be a replacement for washing your hands regularly, but it comes in handy in situations where a sink isn’t close by. Make sure you purchase hand sanitizer that has enough alcohol to kill those pesky germs—the CDC recommends 60% or higher.
Regular flossing is a surprising hygiene habit that can prevent sickness. The same bacteria that contribute to gum disease can also cause inflammation throughout the body, which in turn harms your immune system and makes it harder to fight infection.
We hope these tips prove useful to you this winter, but we know those winter infections can be hard to prevent. If you do end up under the weather in a serious way, feel free to make an appointment with our clinic. Call us at (801) 299-2200 and we’ll get you sorted out in no time.