How to Prevent Colds and Flu


  • Wash your hands frequently, preferably with an antibacterial soap.
  • Between classes, before eating, after handling body secretions, and always before you rub your eyes or touch your face.
  • Cough or sneeze ONLY into your sleeve, and the bend of your elbow. Its simple: Place your left hand on your right shoulder. Then sneeze into your sleeve. Nurses and doctors are taught this technique.
  • Carry disposable paper tissues with you to wipe or blow your nose.
  • Put a couple of paper facial tissues in your pocket or purse every day. Replace them daily. This should become regular health habit, like brushing your teeth.
  • Dispose of used paper tissues in an appropriate receptacle. If you place a used paper tissue in your pocket, remember to throw it into a trash container as soon as possible. Don't keep germs in your pocket!


  • Forget to wash your hands frequently.
  • Touch your face.
  • Place objects such as pens and pencils in your mouth.
  • Bite your fingers or fingernails.
  • Wipe your nose with your hand or fingers.
  • Cough or sneeze into your hand or into the air.

Here's Why:

  • Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing spread of infection. More illnesses are transmitted by germs that get on hands than by airborne droplets.
  • Respiratory viruses in the environment... on desks, computers, telephones, tables... get on your hands first, and then get into your body when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If you cough or sneeze into your hand, the objects your touch afterward will be contaminated and can transmit your germs to others.
  • If you fail to block your cough, germs are released into the air, and can settle on a variety of surfaces. Remember that some germs can survive on common objects for several days!

(Source: University of Pittsburgh- Bradford, 1999.)

Students walk across a snowy campus.