Tips to stay cold and flu-free

Heading into cold and flu season, it’s an important reminder that the best way to stay healthy is through prevention. While nothing will guarantee you will be able to completely prevent illness related to cold and flu viruses, take a look below for some tips from Bowen Chen, Target pharmacist, to help fend off illness before it hits.

•Stay rested – Factors that may increase the risk of catching a cold or flu are fatigue and emotional stress. Be sure to take the time to rest if you feel something coming on, and don’t go into work if you wake up with a fever, aches and pains, or are coughing, sniffling, and sneezing.

•Wash your hands –Yes, we have all heard this over and over, but hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness. The cold and flu viruses can spread through indirect contact such as touching objects like door handles, and can live for 2 to 8 hours on surfaces. Everyone should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, or if unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

•Avoid sharing food and beverages – Cold and flu viruses can spread through direct contact, such as sharing drinks or food. Avoid sharing straws, bottles, snacks and utensils with others, especially if you are sick.

•Cover your sneezes and coughs – When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if possible. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve if you do not have a tissue handy. Lead by example and teach your family to follow suit.

•Get a flu shot – The most effective way to decrease complications and reduce the impact of the flu is to get a preventative vaccine shot. The North American vaccine is developed each year to work against three strains of influenza virus, based on trends seen in the Southern Hemisphere. The best time for vaccination is early October to mid-November.

For more information on cold and flu prevention, and to find out which Target pharmacies are offering the flu shot, please visit