It all starts with one person.
Someone shows up in your classroom or your office (or your newsroom) with a mild case of the sniffles. You and your peers offer some sympathy, but barely take notice. But soon his or her sniffles turn into a full blown cold, complete with runny nose and impromptu sneezes. Before you know it, everyone else is sick to. I’ve seen this happen too many times to count, but this year, I won’t let myself get caught in this cycle, and neither should you. Here are a few rude tips that will help you ward of cold and flu for as long as possible.
- Have garlic breath – Garlic contains a nifty compound called allicin which, along with giving you bad breath, can also reduce your risk of getting sick. To take advantage of this natural remedy, eat a crushed clove of garlic a few times of week during cold and flu season. People will be able to smell you from a mile away though, so try to take it before bed. Regular brushing is another way to keep garlic breath at bay, while also maintaining a whiter, brighter smile.
- Don’t share – We’ve learned from childhood that ‘sharing is caring’, but where are the lessons telling us that sharing can turn you into a walking cesspool? Avoid catching a cold from (or giving a cold to) you friends by keeping your toys to yourself. Someone asks for a sip of your drink, or leans in to take a handful of your popcorn? Kindly tell them to back off. Encourage your friends to do the same.
- Appear a little OCD – Wash your hands as many times as possible. People will think you look a little too crazy if you rush off to the washroom after shaking their hand, so try to time your cleaning sessions correctly. Speaking of shaking hands…
- Don’t shake hands – Your hands are like a playground for bacteria germs. Instead of shaking hands with someone that is visibly sick, try extending a smile, a wave or a half-hearted hug. If those aren’t options, be sure to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after the handshake.
- Don’t touch yourself – Colds are spread when the virus makes direct contact with your face, so try to keep from touching your face too often if you think you might have been in contact with a virus. If you’re skin is so unbelievably smooth that you can’t keep your hands off, consider this: touching your face also leads to a build-up of dirt and oils in your skin which can lead to breakouts. Rub yourself with a tissue if you must.
- Don’t recycle – When you’re done with a tissue, a plastic water-bottle, or any other disposable item that cannot be thoroughly cleaned after use, throw it out. But if you can’t see getting rid of something you’ve only used once, buy the more expensive, long-term versions. Check out the handkerchief selection at the Bay, or pick up a reusable water bottle on campus.
- Skip work/school – If you’re extremely sick, that is. Going to work with a serious cold is just inconsiderate, as you risk infecting those around you. Yes, I know you love your class or job, but will you think of the children others? As much as they love seeing your face, they’ll feel a lot less love for you once you’ve confined them to their beds and forced them to exsist on Buckley’s and Echinacea tablets.
If you still get sick after following these steps, don’t sweat it. Our bodies love a challenge, and a little sickness goes a long way in strengthening our immune systems.