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Small Talk: Hacks for flu season survival

Go wash your hands!

Then put on your mask and don’t forget the splash goggles. It appears all these might be needed this year to avoid the very pushy and ungracious viruses that are laying us low in every quarter.

One co-worker swears that stress is the main culprit and keeps her lavender candle burning. I’m breathing deeply of the secondhand scent. And I’ve found some other interesting things to consider to make ourselves just that much more germ-proof.

My favorite is “Always use your own pen.” Think about it! How many fingers have probably signed with the pen the cashier hands you? One site suggested that you enter your PIN with your knuckle rather than fingertip, and consider all shared surfaces like coffeepot handles, stair rails, copy-machine buttons, the fridge door and even at the gas pump. Get in the habit of sanitizing your computer keyboard, mouse and phone.

One report suggests using vodka if you can’t find hand sanitizer, but, sadly, drinking it is not a solution, as alcohol dehydrates you and can interrupt healing sleep.

There are also several things you should not do, as well. These include (my favorite) “working out too much.” Gyms are perfect, sweaty breeding grounds for germs. Regular exercise is good, but over-exertion and not drinking enough water can weaken your immune system.

Avoid going low carb (and pass that biscuit). Apparently, “whole grains are good for your gut during flu season.” Research by the American Physiological Society found “a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.”     

It also suggests you give up puffing on the Vape pen. Studies show vapors can “trigger substantial inflammation in the lungs making them more likely to get infected by bacteria or viruses like the flu.”

And don’t forget the classic protection move — smile extra wide, but avoid shaking hands. I promise a big hug once spring is here.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who votes we all just stay in bed for a month. Contact her at [email protected]