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How to protect against all sorts of winter viruses


Welcome to the germiest time of the year, when it’s time to protect yourself and family from cold, flu and COVID-19, all contagious viruses.

It’s not possible to avoid getting sick entirely, but you can lessen your likeli-hood and prevent serious symptoms, said pharmacist and healthy living expert Dr. Lisa Leslie-Williams.

Since the pandemic began, lots of things have changed, Leslie-Williams said: “The ways we educate our kids, play and work have all been greatly affected. However, many of the things we are now doing to keep safe are things we should have been doing before and should continue doing in the future.”

Use caution with what you touch.

“Doorknobs, toilet seats and grocery store carts are big hotbeds for germs,” Leslie-Williams said. To stay safe, wipe them down with disinfecting spray or wipes. Avoid using public restrooms if possible.

At home, bacteria and viruses can spread from person to person and from surfaces to people. Disinfect high-touch surface areas like kitchen and bathroom counters, faucets, handles, switches, countertops and computer keyboards. Change dish and hand towels frequently, and wash your hands frequently.

We should all know by now that proper handwashing with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of illness. Good hand hygiene requires washing hands vigorously with soap under running water for 20 to 30 seconds.

“When it comes to your home, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. So invest in air purifiers and place them in your most highly trafficked rooms,” Leslie-Williams said.

Avoid tracking germs into your home by removing shoes as soon as you enter and leave them at the door you u enter and leave them at the door.

“Get each member of your family a pair of house shoes or swap out comfy socks for use inside the home,” Leslie-Williams said.

Often neglected, toothbrushes can be a breeding ground for germs.

“Avoid contaminating them by keeping toilet seats closed when flushing, so that germs don’t inadvertently find their way into your mouth,” Leslie-Williams said.

Disinfect toothbrushes once a week in a solution using 3% peroxide. “Dilute 1 teaspoon of peroxide with one cup of water and allow tooth-brushes to soak overnight to keep germs and reinfection at bay,” Leslie-Williams said.

Boost your natural immunity by adopting healthy habits such as drinking plenty of water, getting fresh air and exercise, and eating a balanced diet.

For the foreseeable future, face masks are the height of fashion.

“No matter if you and your family are at work or at school, remember to wash reusable face masks and face coverings at least one a week. Keep them intact by using an enclosed mesh laundry bag,” Leslie-Williams said. “Giving those masks a good laun-dering with plenty of hot water and gentle laundry soap will help keep the ones you love healthier throughout the season.”

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