Health Watch - Getting Sick: Preventing Illness

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about winter illnesses. Previously, we discussed the way that hearing a sneeze makes us worry about our health. The way to avoid overreacting is to know how to minimize our health risks. How can you protect yourself from catching a virus?

Dr. Jane Siegel, an infectious disease expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the three-foot rule is a good way to avoid exposure to germs from coughing or sneezing. Try to stay at least three feet away from other people when you’re out in public during cold and flu season. You also should wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, especially after shaking hands with people, coughing or blowing your nose. You can help protect yourself from illness year-round by eating a balanced, nutritious diet and getting enough sleep and exercise. That will keep your immune system strong.

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February 2010


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