Prepare For Personal Health

Know what to do to stay healthy during cold and flu season.

Keeping yourself healthy is key to handling any emergency. If you’re at your best physically, mentally and emotionally, you’ll be at your best in dealing with anything unexpected that comes your way—including emergencies. And, after all, staying healthy is a lot easier and more fun than getting healthy.

Five simple steps:

  • Keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness. Wash your hands, especially before you eat and after you use the bathroom. Your mom, teacher and doctor were right: It’s the easiest way to keep viruses away.
  • Exercise daily. Even if it’s pacing back and forth while you’re on the phone or walking faster to the mailbox, or taking the stairs up a flight instead of the elevator or escalator, 30 minutes of exercise several times a week can slow the aging process and help protect your body against illness.
  • Think prevention. If you see a lump, bump or anything else that looks like it has grown or changed on your body, see your doctor. Also stay current on all your check-ups, including the dentist.
  • If a pandemic like swine flu or SARS occurs, first, don’t panic. Then go to reputable sites like the Centers for Disease Control for current information about how vulnerable you and your family might be and how to keep them disease- and virus-free.
  • Most important, have a sense of humor and reach out to friends and family. Laughter really is the best medicine, and sharing it with the ones you love is a good kind of contagious.

Proper hand-washing procedures:

  • Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid soap or use clean bar soap. Lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet.

Additional resources full of good information for healthy living:

  • Go to the Centers for Disease Control website at for a comprehensive guide to good health. Most anything you need to know is on this site, from birth defects and heart disease prevention to environmental health and healthy traveling.
  • is another useful link. In addition to lots of in-depth information about healthy living, the site includes health checks, some of which provide a tailored report to help you effectively communicate with your doctor, and tips from WebMD health experts to help you deal with your symptoms.
  • More than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers from Mayo Clinic share their expertise and empower you to manage your health. A “Find it Fast” section gets you quickly to diseases and conditions, symptoms, drugs and supplements, and tests and procedures. Healthy recipes and a Healthy Living section also are great sources of information.