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Staving Off Germs Will Stave Off Colds

The weather outside is not too frightful. Not yet, that is. But that doesn't mean cold and flu season is taking a holiday. Preventing the spread of germs is your first defense against nasty bacteria and viruses. Following are some steps, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , that you can take to arm yourself against microscopic enemies:

Have you gotten your flu shot yet ? If not, there is still time. Getting the flu vaccine later (as opposed to in the prime vaccination months of October and November) is better than not getting it at all. The young, those older than age 65 and those who are chronically ill are at most risk for complications from seasonal flu. CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older. There are three different flu shots available and your provider can help select the right one for you. Remember, getting a flu shot will not protect you against the common cold.

Wash your hands often . Viruses are spread by droplets emanating from an infected person when he or she coughs, sneezes or talks. Airborne, the virus enters the body through the nose or mouth, or from your hands after you have touched an object contaminated with the virus. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is the most effective way to wash away cold viruses from your hands. If you don't have access to soap and water, consider carrying an alcohol-based hand cleaner with you.

Toss the tissues: Saving trees is one thing, but stuffing used tissues back into your pocket or bag is a good way to preserve germs. When you are done using one, throw it away.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick . To prevent the spread of illness, stay home if you are sick.

The CDC has some simple recommends to stay healthy. They include: get plenty of sleep; be physically active; manage stress; drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

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