No one wants the flu. There are easier and more pleasant ways to get out of work/housework/spending time with the relatives, than to be flat on your back feeling like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck. So in order to save your sick days for those nice days when you’d rather be anywhere other than work, try these strategies. Some of them are “ye ole standbys” and some may be new to you. Even if you only incorporate the strategies to navigate the MEAN NURSE’S DIRTY FIVE, you’ll have a good shot at avoiding the flu. And anyway these practices are how I avoid getting that nasty flu bug and probably why I haven’t had it for nearly a decade.
1) Wash your hands frequently AND thoroughly. Singing the Happy Birthday song is about the length of time you need to scrub. It’s not the type of soap that you use or even the temperature of the water, but the prolonged scrubbing action that gets rid of the germs. Why do you think hospitals require surgeons to scrub so long?
2) Carry hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket. Every door or cupboard handle, spigot, pen that you borrow, keypad at the grocery store or ATM, and shopping cart, has the potential to make you sick. When you get in your car, use your hand sanitizer. Also disinfect your steering wheel, keys, and phone once in a while.
3) Wipe down. Get your germ killer out and wipe down door handles, drawer handles, remotes, backs of dining chairs, oven handle, microwave, light switches, and fridge door handles.
4) Heal your gut.
5) Lower your alcohol and sugar consumption. It may be difficult during the holidays with all the festivities to do this, but both suppress your immune system by creating favorable conditions in your gut for candida (yeast) growth, which will make you very ill over time. The flu will be a cakewalk compared to candidiasis.
6) Cut your stress. Again difficult to do at the holidays, but crucial to a healthy immune system.
7) Get the proper sleep. For some people it’s a full 8; others, 7. Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so give it the time it needs. My sleep needs vary from day to day. Sometimes I wake up after a few hours with my body telling me “that’s all I need” so I get up, do a few things and take a nap later.
8) Take a supplement. Consider Wellness Formula by Source Naturals. I’ve taken it for years and whenever I start to feel something coming on, I take extra doses every few hours. Result: sickness never takes hold.
9) Exercise. I know. I know. Everyone says that, and it sucks! I exercise in some form every day and there are days I flippin’ hate yoga, but do it anyway. It’s non-negotiable. Even the Asian and European women who never step foot inside a gym walk A LOT every day. Exercise breaks throughout the day work as well. When you’re standing at the microwave, do squats. Your legs will begin to hurt before those 90 seconds are done. Put a pedal exerciser under your desk and pedal as you work. It’s cheaper than a treadmill desk, with less risk of injury. I see those people on TV that swear by them, but all I can think of is the swearing I’d do after I tripped and fell on the damn thing because I was watching some damn cat YouTube vid. Try my CHEAT: Walk every aisle in the damn grocery store. I rarely shop the aisles, but when I didn’t get a proper workout in, or if I’m starting the day at the store, I’ll walk every flippin’ aisle just to get the walk in. I do it fast, because I’m usually pissed at myself for not shopping the night before, but I got engrossed in West Wing on Netflix or something equally as time-sucking.
10) Fluids, fluids, fluids, and that doesn’t mean soda pop, or flavored waters that you buy that way. I’m talking water and tea, preferably green tea. If you say you don’t like the taste, revisit green tea, there are some nice variations. And you can always flavor water with an extract or fruit.
11) Kids. Send them straight to the bathroom to wash their hands after coming home from school.
12) Shoes. Off at the door. Use the nurses’ rule where shoes either don’t come in the house OR never make it two-feet past the door. This goes for putting them on as well. Keep the germs at the doorstep, not tracked throughout your house. This goes for guests too. Have a new pair of socks waiting for them, or tell them before they visit that they should bring a pair of slippers or socks to wear.
13) Change pillowcases EVERY DAY, if you do get sick and at least once a week when not ill.
14) Bookbags. Wash those germ-infested things at least once a month or spray them down with an antimicrobial.
15) Coats. Wash ‘em if possible. The wrist area is especially germy.
THE MEAN NURSE’S DIRTY FIVE
- Other people’s pens. Carry your own. If you must use someone else’s, I hope you have your winter gloves on. If not, sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- Shopping carts. For cryin’ out loud use the wipes located at the front of most every store. Why do people breeze past the fucking FREE wipes?? I don’t get it! In the absence of wipes, push that cart while wearing your winter gloves. Otherwise, add whatever you take for headaches and tissues to your list, because in about a week, you’ll be DOWN! If you’re not going to wipe down the shopping carts, you might as well just lick them and get it over with.
- ATM and stores keypads. Again, wear your gloves, use a pen or pencil to push the buttons, or use your knuckle. If you have to use that attached pen to sign your name and you don’t have gloves, what are you going to do boys and girls? That’s right, sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- Door handles. Pull down your sleeve and grasp the handle with your covered hand. If someone is holding a door open for you, grasp it as high as you can, and if you MUST pull a door open and you don’t have long sleeves, grasp the handle as low as possible. Everyone grabs the middle or top.
- Handshakes. The fist bump is the new handshake. Learn it. Use it.
So what are your suggestions for flu prevention? Add to the list!
- What You Don’t Know About the Flu Vaccine May Hurt You (themeannurse.com)
- Becoming a Germophobe in the Supermarket (cartsandparts.wordpress.com)