Although cold + flu season doesn’t have an official start or end date, most people know to be prepared once the weather starts to cool off in the winter months. According to a 34-year study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), February is the most common month to catch this dangerous respiratory infection.
Getting sick is not only a bummer because of your health, but also because it means you may have to take work off to recuperate. Whether you’re a gig worker or have a full-time job, taking time off isn’t always convenient. But the alternative – possibly worsening your condition and infecting the people around you, is much worse. In this post, we’ll cover a few ways to help prevent getting sick during the dreaded flu season.
1. Know the symptoms
A majority of us have had a cold or the flu in our lifetimes, but if it’s been a while, here’s a reminder of the symptoms (via Duquesne University):
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
Typically influenza presents itself with several symptoms, so get yourself to the doctor or drug store if you’re experiencing any combination of the above.
2. Wash your hands
If you work in food service or hospitality, hand washing is engrained in your daily routine. By keeping your hands clean, it will help prevent the spread of germs whether it’s to you or someone else. In addition to hand washing, there are other good hygiene practices that will help keep you healthy this season, such as using clean tissues, covering your mouth with your arm when you cough or sneeze, and getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Get a flu shot
The Mayo Clinic suggests getting a flu shot every year. While getting the shot doesn’t “provide total protection”, it’s the best way to prevent the spread of disease. Click here to find a list of places that offer free or low-cost flu shots.
4. Don’t ignore your body
One of, if not THE most important thing on this list is to listen to your body. You’ll know best when something feels off or if you feel a cold coming on. We get that it’s hard to take off work, sometimes due to your employer. But by taking one day off when you’re starting to feel sick, you may save yourself several days off in the future. This is especially important for gig workers, who often work at multiple locations and may have a higher risk of contracting or spreading the disease.