5 ways to prevent the flu this winter

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, a nurse gives administers a flu vaccine shot in Washington. Preliminary data released by U.S. health officials on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2017 suggest this season's vaccine is 48 percent effective. That's not bad since the strain that’s making most people sick is one of the worst. Experts consider it a good year when a flu vaccine is 50 to 60 percent effective. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)– Local physicians have identified the top five habits that can protect you during the flu season.

Doctors believe the best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated, but it takes two weeks for the shot to become effective.

The holidays are here, so physicians with American Family Care have offered a few habits to protect you during the cold season.


  • Knuckle it. When holiday shopping, get into the habit of punching in your debit card pin with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. This way if you rub your eye or mouth with your fingertip, you’re not transferring germs.
  • Avoid using your phone in the restroom. A bathroom is coated with germs, especially in a public place. While most people wash their hands after using the restroom, they don’t wash their phones. The CDC says contaminated particles can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours, you can easily spread them by touching the screen then touching other surfaces. Get in the habit of wiping down your phone to cut down on spreading germs.
  • Don’t share pens. Whether at work or signing a credit card receipt at a store, never pick up a public pen because they’re covered with other people’s germs. Keep a pen handy for any situation that could pop up.
  • Protect yourself at the pump. Drivers must get gas no matter what, sick or not. When you fill up, grab a paper towel by the pump before picking up the gas nozzle. You can also use the paper towel as a barrier when punching in your debit/credit card info.
  • Sanitize after shaking. People are more germ-conscious these days so this is not as rude as once thought, especially during flu season! If you must shake hands with someone, either sanitize or wash your hands immediately.





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