5 tips to avoid viruses this winter, according to a virologist!

Verified on 08/11/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
5 astuces pour éviter les virus cet hiver selon une virologue !

Winter is just around the corner, and with it comes its share of viruses! Like every year, the arrival of winter heralds the return of cold weather, hot meals, snow (for the lucky ones) and viruses!

According to Santé Publique France, « In winter, many viruses circulate. They are transmitted mainly through sputum and contact with contaminated hands or objects (elevator buttons, door handles, toys, etc.). The main illnesses linked to these viruses are influenza, colds, nasopharyngitis, gastroenteritis and bronchiolitis. Covid is also still circulating.

So what can you do to avoid nasty winter viruses?

In a recent video posted on social networks, a virologist shares her advice on how to protect yourself from winter illnesses!

If the thought of falling ill is already making you anxious, don’t panic– there are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself! Here are 5 of them…

Air your home regularly

Even if it’s starting to get colder, that doesn’t mean you can’t air out your home! Agir pour la Transition Écologique reminds us that it’s important to open your windows regularly to circulate and renew the ambient air.

« Opening your windows wide for 5 to 10 minutes every day is the most effective way to renew room air sufficiently without cooling the house. »

Good to know: « If you open the windows on both sides of the house, air renewal can be even faster (2 to 5 minutes). The flow of air from one room to another is very effective ».

According to the virologist, airing your home is essential to avoid catching viruses, as it renews the air and evacuates germs.

Wash your hands frequently

Hand washing is still the most effective way to protect yourself against viruses and germs!

Between subway bars, elevator buttons, door handles and light switches, our hands are in constant contact with nests of bacteria and microbes every day.

To wash your hands properly, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water (hot or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap . Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  3. Rub for at least 20 seconds. « Do you need a stopwatch? Hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice, » says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry.

Good to know: Beware of hand dryers! Hand dryers spread bacteria to everything in the room! They’re a veritable breeding ground for bacteria!

Do not touch your face with your hands

We don’t always realize it, but we touch our faces very frequently throughout the day!

Rubbing your eyes, scratching your nose, eating your fingernails, touching your hair – these are all moments that can lead to contamination. All these small, mechanical gestures expose us to viruses!

According to the Agence Régionale de Santé, « On average, your hand comes into contact with your face up to 3,000 times a day. The nose, eyes and mouth are all entry points for viruses and bacteria ».

Avoid touching your face as much as possible and wash your hands regularly!

Avoid contact with sick people

To avoid contracting a virus, it’s best to avoid contact with sick people as much as possible. To do this, it’s best to keep your distance and wear a mask !

Getting vaccinated

« Vaccination against seasonal flu remains one of the most effective ways of preventing illness and protecting those around you , » says Santé Publique France.

However, « it’s by following all the preventive measures (vaccination and barrier measures) that we can protect against all winter viruses ».

Even when they have been vaccinated, people must continue to apply barrier measures to protect themselves from disease.

« Regarding influenza vaccines and COVID-19: you can consult the vaccination-info-service.fr website for the latest recommendations in France, or discuss them with your doctor, » says the virologist below her video.