How not to get a cold or flu from a family member

The media edition of The New York Times received a very relevant question for the cold season:

Robin Thompson, an internist at ProHealth Care Associates in Huntington, New York, believes frequent handwashing is the key to disease prevention.

“Preventing close contact is probably helpful, but not guaranteed,” says Dr. Thompson.

Sleeping in the same bed can indeed increase your chances of catching a cold or flu from your spouse, she says, but avoiding it can help. Especially for the reader who writes that she is not going to leave the house. Regular cleaning of surfaces that are most commonly touched by household members can reduce the number of germs.

Dr. Susan Rehm, vice chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic, believes that in addition to obvious surfaces, cups and toothbrush glasses in the bathroom can also be sources of bacteria. Dr. Rehm says the best protection against infection is vaccination, but a doctor may also prescribe antiviral medicine for family members in which one person is sick to prevent disease and provide additional protection.

According to Rem, whenever she worries about a possible infection, she focuses on what she can control. For example, every person (even regardless of cold seasons) can control their diet, exercise and physical activity levels, as well as healthy sleep. She believes that this could potentially help her resist the infection, or at least more easily endure the disease if the infection does occur.

Infectious disease researcher at the Mayo Clinic (one of the largest private medical and research centers in the world), Dr. Preetish Tosh, said it’s important to be mindful of “respiratory etiquette” if you’re sick. When you cough or sneeze, it’s best to do so into your flexed elbow rather than your hand or fist. And yes, a sick person should isolate themselves from other family members, or at least try to stay away from them during the illness.

He noted that families are often exposed to microbes at the same time, so it often happens that household infections overlap each other, and family members get sick literally in a circle. 

If a family member has a cold or the flu and you don’t leave the house often for various reasons, the following may help:

Try not to contact the patient at least during the peak of his illness.

Wash your hands often.

Carry out wet cleaning of the apartment, paying special attention to the objects that the patient touches. Door handles, refrigerator doors, cabinets, bedside tables, toothbrush cups.

Ventilate the room at least twice a day – in the morning and before bed.

Eat right. Do not weaken the immune system with junk food and alcoholic beverages, pay more attention to fruits, vegetables and greens.

Drink plenty of water.

Exercise regularly or charging. It is best to do this outside the home, for example, in the hall or on the street. But in case you decide to go for a run, do not forget to warm up well so as not to get sick not because of a sick relative, but because of hypothermia. 

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