Protect Yourself from the Flu and Other Common Viruses — Blog Banner Image

The mercury in the thermometer is dropping and people are starting to bundle up.  You are feeling excitement in the air for the holiday season, but that excitement isn’t the only thing in the air.  ‘Tis the season for respiratory viruses! 

Respiratory viruses, like the common cold and Influenza (flu), are mainly spread from person to person through droplets in the air.  These droplets are commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, or even just talking.  Less commonly, these droplets can land on an object or surface, and through touching those objects or surfaces, spread the cold or flu virus.  Every year in the United States, there are more than a million cases of respiratory illnesses caused by the common cold and flu.  So, how can you avoid becoming a statistic?  Below are simple, everyday actions you can take, that can help safeguard yourself from getting a respiratory virus and ensure you are spreading holiday cheer, not the cold and flu.

Protect Yourself

  • Most importantly, get your flu vaccination. Places like Banner Urgent Cares clinics, offer flu vaccinations for a $0 copay with most insurances.
  • Regularly wash your hands often with soap and water. Ensure that you are scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.   If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and even eyes. Touching these areas with contaminated fingers can give viruses easy entry into the body.
  • Stay away from people who are sick and coughing and sneezing. Droplets spread through coughing and sneezing can travel up to 6 feet!
  • Get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. These are an important foundation to having a healthy immune system that will help your body fight off germs like respiratory viruses.

Protect Others If You Get Sick

  • Stay at home while you are sick. You are most contagious the first 3 – 4 days after your illness begins.  It is important to note, that antibiotics will not work against viruses and should not be taken to treat respiratory viruses. 
  • Avoid close personal contact. Things like kissing, shaking hands, and hugging can spread the illness to others.
  • Always cough and sneeze into a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve (groove of your elbow). This ensures that you mouth and nose are fully covered.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose. This can help reduce spreading the virus that is on your hands to others.
  • Disinfect objects and surfaces that you have touched. This kills the virus that may be on the object or surface before someone has a chance to touch it.


  1. Common Cold.
  2. Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others.
  3. Influenza (Flu).