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Is it a Cold or the Flu?
Indoor workouts at crowded gyms can increase you risk of picking up germs, fungus and the common winter cold and flu virus. This is more common in the winter when we often spend more time training indoors where it's easier for germs to spread. To avoid unnecessary illness and downtime here are some practical ways to prevent the spread of germs and common gym bugs.

Wash your hands frequently. This is often your best defense. Wash the entire hand using warm water and soap. Don't forget to clean under fingernails. Wash for about 10 seconds.

Avoid putting your hands near your eyes, nose or mouth, unless you have washed. Most bacteria and germs are spread from a surface to your hands to your face. Few germs are transmitted through the air.

Clean your 'shared spaces' more often than other times of the year. Remember phones, keyboards, steering wheels, office equipment and other items used by several people during the day.

Get a flu shot. Flu shots are especially beneficial for those with weakened immune systems, the elderly or those who come in contact with a lot of people. Check with Health Services for more information.

Get enough sleep. During sleep, your body's immune system goes into high gear to protect you from illness. Lack of sleep can reduce immune functioning making you susceptible to sickness.

Get Adequate Rest and Recovery. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen.

Stay hydrated. In the fall and winter, it is easy to overlook your thirst and get dehydrated. Make sure you plenty of water.

Continue a moderate exercise program. Try to maintain a 3-4 day a week exercise routine. Consistency is key.

Eat healthily. A good rule is to eat 10-15 calories per pound of "desired body weight." If your ideal weight is 170 lbs, then consume 1700-2550 calories a day (1700 for sedentary individuals and 2550 for extremely active types.)

Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance to bacteria.

Finally, listen to your body. If you are less than 100% you will feel better and recover faster if you let yourself rest.

Teach Kids to Stop the Spread of Germs: Hand Washing, Covering Cough Tops the List
Whether it's washing hands while singing happy birthday two times, learning to cough into the crook of an arm when no tissue is nearby, or keeping a healthy distance from others when sick, there are good habits that can help keep the cooties away and result in healthier and happy kids. Here are quick health tips to teach kids to help stop the spread of germs:

Wash hands often. Most adults understand that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands, but kids need to be taught this message and then have it frequently reinforced. People pick up germs from other sources and then become infected when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth (or put infected toys and other items in their mouths as commonly occurs with youngsters). Germs are easily spread directly to others or onto surfaces that people touch, and then everyone gets sick! The National Center for Infectious Diseases reminds everyone that more than a common cold can be caught through the spread of germs--some serious diseases such as hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea are easily spread.

When should kids wash their hands? Children should be reminded to wash their hands before, during and after food is prepared; before and after you eat; after using the bathroom; after handling animals or animal waste such as changing a cage or catbox; whenever hands are dirty or kids have been outside playing; and more frequently when anyone in the classroom, care setting or home is sick.

Cover a cough. Show your kids how to do this to help prevent spread of germs. Inevitably, kids aren't near a tissue when the urge to cough or sneeze occurs, and spread (or literally spray) germs by unwittingly infecting others. Kids need to be taught to cough into the crook of their arm, into their sleeve, or even in their hand, and then to immediately wash their hands. Some providers/teachers have turned "cover your cough" into a game or type of positive reinforcement when kids are caught covering their cough correctly. Older kids may even create health posters and other lessons that can be posted in the classroom and even at home.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And, if you or your child is the one who is sick, encourage others to keep their distance to minimize the spread of the illness. If possible, stay home from school, work, childcare, and public places so others won't be exposed. Know when your child is too sick to attend child care or school for the health and well-being of everyone else. After all, you hope that others will extend the same courtesy to your family!