The Arthritis Newsletter

Spring 2018

Don’t get sick when you’re sick

By Shanon McQuitty


Colds and flu can be dangerous for the majority of the population, including the very young, the elderly and those of us with compromised immune systems. Whether you are taking immuno-suppressing drugs or not, there are ways to protect yourself. Read on for tips and tricks on how to avoid getting sick when you’re sick.


Moving around in the world:

  • Carry a closed bag with disinfectant wipes. This is helpful for things such as air travel (seat arms, tray table, etc.), shopping cart handles, movie theatre chairs, and menus. Some grocery stores have wipes available when you walk in the door to wipe the cart handle, but having them with you means never being caught without!
  • Cover your hand with a sleeve or the bottom of your shirt when touching things such as elevator buttons, door handles and buttons, escalator rails and stair rails.
  • After washing your hands in a public restroom, use a paper towel to pull open the door.


In hospitals, clinics or heavily populated areas:

  • Sanitize your hands and mask up! Studies show that family members reduced their risk of getting the flu by 70 to 80 per cent when they washed their hands often and wore surgical masks.
  • Keep paper masks and fabric masks in your car at all times (never reuse a mask). Also, medical facilities typically have masks near the entrance.
  • If you have a handbag, hang a hand sanitizer on it for easy access, and keep several in your car for when you’re on the go.


Home and work:

  • Avoid crowds at busy times and take advantage of online shopping! Many grocery chains now have delivery or pickup service. If you do need to go to the store, go when it is less busy to reduce your risk of contact with germs. And, always make sure to wash your hands as soon as you come home!
  • Keep your toothbrush separate from other members of your household and replace it after a cold or flu, especially a bacterial illness like strep throat.
  • Wipe down your computer/tablet screen, keyboard, door handles and phones with disinfectant wipes.
  • During cold and flu season, especially at work, stop shaking hands! A fist bump, an elbow bump or a wave will help stop the passing of germs.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow and teach children around you to do the same.
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