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Avoid the crud
LET ME GUESS you
The human body, on a daily basis and year-round, is under near constant assault from the microbes in our environment. Bacteria and viruses are looking for a couch to crash on, while you are wishing the freeloader would choose someone else's place. The primary reason infections pick up this time of year is that the cold weather forces us to be in closer proximity to one another.
So, how can we avoid picking up an unwanted infection?
MEANS OF TRANSMISSION
Most bacteria and viruses are spread through bodily fluids. They are not--I repeat not--waiting for you if you forget to wear your coat outside, or get caught in the rain. You will not become deathly ill if someone who happens to be sick breathes on you.
In sequence, here is how germs are spread: You wipe your nose, and your snot is teeming with viruses ready to crash someplace new. Then you touch a doorknob, or the coffee pot--or worse, you shake the hand of someone you pretend to care about. Voilà! You have helped spread your cold, or sinus infection, or bronchitis to someone else.
Mind you, different infections are transmitted through different mechanisms. Airborne illnesses are quite rare--smallpox being a devastating example. Viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B are transmitted through both blood and sexual contact.
But the cold and influenza viruses are spread through contact with respiratory secretions, aka boogers.
The most effective means of preventing transmission is washing your hands. If you have an infection, you can steer clear of giving it to someone else by washing your hands. And if you are not currently a phlegm factory, you can avoid becoming one by hand-washing, too--the right way.
Hand-washing should take almost one minute, with hot water and lathered soap. A quick rinse will not cut it!
As an alternative to soap and water, there has been an explosion of antibacterial products on the market. Antibacterial soaps contain topical antibiotics.