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Avoiding the Cold and Flu

You may ask what this article has to do with finances. Consider the amount of money spent in buying over the counter relief products, money spent at the doctors office, fuel spent going to the doctor and pharmacy, and any loss wages due to being sick in bed, and you will see that the cold or flu can take a bite out of your budget. Many people don't properly fund their medical category in their budget and hope for the best.


We have all heard the basic common sense ways to avoid a cold, "wash your hands", "cover your mouth when you sneeze", and, if your mom was like my mom, "don't go outside with wet hair", although some medical experts argue against that one. However, there are steps we can take to avoid getting the common cold and flu.

  • Wash your hands. Mom was right! Wash before you eat, after the restroom, after you enter "hot spots" such as hospitals, daycare centers, doctor offices, pharmacies, using a public phone, public bathroom, touching money, using a grocery cart. I am sure you can think of several more places that you come into contact with germs. If you can't wash your hands, carry a small bottle of sanitizer with you to rub on your hands.
  • Wipe down common use contact areas such as door knobs, telephone receivers, faucets, shared keyboards, remote controls, steering wheels (if you have a co-driver), mailbox handle. You don't need to carry around a bucket of bleach water, you can simply use a sanitizing wipe.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body requires proper rest for all your systems to operate at their best,
  • Eat well. What you eat is fuel for your body. Failure to eat properly will cause your immune system to suffer, You need a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables, protein (meats) and grains. Notice this diet does not include chips, soda, or other junk foods. Feed your body junk food, and it will start to act like junk. Some studies indicate vitamin C supplements may also help.
  • Avoid stress when you can. Stress can upset the balance of one's body. This in turn can cause foods to not digest properly and for the sleep cycle to be interrupted.
  • Get exercise. I am not talking about the total body makeover. I am talking about walking to the mailbox or around the block. If you are new to exercise, see your physician before starting if it is going to consist of much more than walking.
  • Get plenty of fresh air. Go outside several times a day. Walk on your breaks from work, go out to get the mail or to just stand on the porch for a few minutes several times a day. During the winter if you can not get out, open a window for a few minutes and let the air circulate.
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  • Change and clean areas where germs collect. One of the dirtiest places for germs to collect and breed is in your kitchen. You thought I was going to say bathroom, didn't you? Wash your dishrags and sponges daily. Regular laundry detergent does not kill cold germs. The best way to clean your kitchen sponges is to zap them in the microwave for a minute after laundering. The heat will kill the germs.

    Change your toothbrush often, and after using pour a small amount of mouthwash or vinegar over it to kill germs. Baby toys may need be be wiped down, as well as the teething bar on their crib.

    While washing your dishes, add a small amount of bleach or vinegar to the water to disinfect. Change your furnace filters. Germs like to collect in them also. Many sources and TV ads tell you to use antibacterial soaps. However, I have heard several studies on TV and radio that are now saying some germs are becoming resistant to such soaps.

  • Avoid your exposure to others when you are sick. Not only for the sake of others, but for yourself. Your immune system is already weak, so you are at an increase to pick up something else.
  • Avoid being around those persons you know are sick if at all possible. If you must be around them, use good handwashing and keep your contact to the bare minimum that you can.

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February 12, 20080 found this helpful
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Plenty of good advice! I'd just like to add that I heard a Dr on TV say that the more Vit C you can have in your bloodstream will help prevent colds. Taking it once you already have a cold doesn't really do anything then.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 15, 20080 found this helpful
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A few more suggestions:

Each family member should use a separate towel and washcloth. They need to hang so that they dry between uses. And they should be changed often.

Use paper towels for guests. I know this sounds wasteful. But giving your guest a cold or catching theirs is worth it.

If you have an ice bin, leave a scoop in it so no one handles the cubes while they're filling a glass.

Wash hands before preparing food - not just before eating. And before you put away the clean dishes.


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September 29, 20150 found this helpful

In 1998, I started carrying and using a product called Sani-Hands (available at Smart&Final in Calif.). Prior to that time, I would have at least one cold a year - and my colds weren't sniffles; I became deathly ill.


Once using those wipes, it would be years before I acquired a cold! However, I used them a lot.  For example: How many people realize how DIRTY a menu is in a restaurant? When handling a menu, I am careful not to touch my face or blow my nose or drink from my water or beverage glass until the menu has been removed, at which time I immediately use the Sani-Hands wipe.

Many people don't think about nor realize how dirty those menus are! I also occasionally wipe my steering wheel, also, such as after I've been grocery shopping, etc.

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October 5, 20150 found this helpful

Airplanes - my husband and I went to Hawaii for our 34th anniversary. During our trip we both came down with the 24-hour flu (luckily on different nights/days). I vomited through the night and just slept the next day, but was okay. My husband had to go to the emergency room because he was so dehydrated. Our next trip we wiped everything down with anti-bacterial wipes - the seatbelt, tray table (said to have more germs than the airplane toilet), arms, etc. We have been on five trips since, some short, 1 back to Hawaii and not even one upset stomach, let alone debilitating flu bugs! The only way to travel!

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