Spring is in the air, and while many of us enjoy this time of year it comes with different allergens, such as pollen, cedar and molds, but what about other types of microorganisms? There are plenty of harmful germs lurking everywhere, and while we have learned to keep most of them under control, we need to be vigilant in keeping our immune systems in check, protecting ourselves from infectious agents that can be harmful to us.

Preventing infections means taking action through simple steps, such as washing hands if touching surfaces. You should always wash your hands before and after touching foods, using public restrooms, coughing, sneezing …and so on. Every grocery store has sanitizing wipes as you enter, but not only should you wipe your hands first…its recommended you also wipe the handle on the cart. Public places can be a breeding ground for infections, just take a seat in a nearby bench and watch. People sneeze and cough without covering their mouths, they touch everything in the produce departments, and worse yet, some of them are carrying diseases and don’t think twice about others.

Today, many doctors believe in protecting yourself with the flu vaccination; however… those with compromised immune systems may not want to be vaccinated for several reasons. Also, taking daily vitamin supplements can reduce the risk of catching the common cold or other infections, while eating the right foods may help combat bad germs. We need to be proactive in every aspect of our health, because being ill can sometimes create bigger problems down the road, example being; a common cold that turns into bronchitis or pneumonia. Depending on your age, these types of infections can weaken the immune system, possibly leading to serious borne illnesses. Furthermore, if you are not feeling well… you need to stay home. So many times people brush it off, forcing themselves to go to work, or send their ill children to school. This creates an epidemic, as it only takes one contagious person to spread it among others. Reasons are usually because one cannot afford to stay at home or there is no one to care for the sick child during the day, but then they put others at jeopardy.

Hand sanitizers are located through many public places, though I can honestly say, I don’t see many people taking advantage of it. When I go to the doctor’s office, I watch those that come in coughing, and yet…not one person will use it. It’s important that we are more mindful when not feeling well, because no one wants to get sick. Other places to be careful of are libraries (if using computers), hotels, restaurants and casinos. Daily, thousands of people walk through casinos and play machines, which mean they are all touching the buttons and running hands over the screens; just think of the germs that that linger around them… it’s not a pretty picture. The same goes for any large public place, and while most people appear to be well, they may not be. As they say, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Be proactive, because recently…diseases which haven’t been around in years seem to be popping up in surrounding states, not to mention newer borne illnesses. So, for what it’s worth… pick up a small tube of hand sanitizer and carry it with you. You just might prevent yourself (or someone else) from the next borne illness, and who doesn’t want to live life happily and healthy!?

Make your week count.