Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH


This article was made possible through the financial support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has sponsored Qcitymetro’s Health Page since 2010.

Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH

When we hear other people coughing and sniffling, it’s only natural to be concerned about catching something. But unless we quarantine ourselves, it is impossible to completely avoid sick people. It is possible, however, to avoid catching germs that may cause cold or flu.

Having a strong immune system can help; it makes your body more capable of fighting off infections — so no need to quarantine or live in a plastic bubble.

Still, if you’re concerned about catching cold or flu, here are some tips that may reduce your odds.

Keep Those Hands Clean

Germs are pretty much everywhere, and their most convenient mode of transportation is to hitch a ride on your hands. For instance, say you’re at the gas station and the person ahead of you has a cold. Guess what? He may be gone, but those germs are still there. Without even thinking, you grab that same pump. Those germs are now on your hands, and all they need is for you to touch your mouth, eyes, or nose to find a passageway into your body. This is where a bottle of hand sanitizer is your best friend. If you are unable to wash your hands frequently (hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent from getting sick), keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you to kill off those germs.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep not only keeps you peppy and functional for the next day, it also helps keep your immune system strong. So be sure to get 7-8 hours each night.

Proper Nutrition

Eat well-balanced meals to get the essential nutrients to keep the immune system strong. During cold and flu season, be sure to eat enough protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.


Regular, moderate exercise can also keep your immune system strong. Health experts recommended we get at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity.

Sanitize Your Work Space

In an office where there are a lot of people and interactions, it is easy for germs to spread. Keep disinfecting wipes and clean your work station or office, and don’t forget that hand sanitizer.

Having a cold is no fun. It’s even worse if you have the flu. Remember to be mindful during cold and flu season to decrease your chances of getting sick.

Ayesha Qureshi is a certified health and wellness coach and has a background in health behavior and health education.