Adopting healthy habits and getting flu vaccinated annually is your best protection against the common cold and flu (influenza).

The following are simple acts you can take to protect yourself and others from the cold and flu (influenza).

6 Easy ways to protect yourself from the common cold and flu (influenza)

1. Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands with soap frequently. Both children and adults should wash hands after wiping their noses, touching door knobs or escalator railings, and using the bathroom.

To properly wash your hands, you should:
  1. Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.

  2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.

  3. Continue rubbing your hands for 20 seconds (roughly equivalent to the time it takes to hum ‘Happy Birthday’ twice).

  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.

  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry.

Here's a video on how to properly wash your hands.


Keeping a small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitiser (with at least 60 per cent alcohol) also comes in handy to remove germs from your hands, in the event a wash basin with soap is not easily available.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Germs found on contaminated common surfaces easily spread to you when you do not properly wash or sanitise your hands, then proceed to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

3. Avoid contact with people who have the cold or flu

Avoid close contact with people who are sick with the common cold or flu.

If you suspect that you have been infected, wear a face mask to help prevent the virus from spreading. If you do not have a face mask, always cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading germs. Lastly, if you are sick, be responsible and stay home.

Patients with chronic illnesses or a low immune system should avoid crowded places ​whenever possible, or wear a surgical mask to protect themselves.

4. Get flu vaccinated

Get the influenza vaccine every year. It's the surest way to lowering your risk of getting the flu (influenza).

5. Live a healthy lifestyle

Adopt a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way towards preventing sickness.

6. Manage stress levels

Manage your stress better. By learning to manage your psychological stress and chronic stressors (such as interpersonal problems), it helps reduce your susceptibility to colds and the flu.

For more information on the causes and treatments for common flu and influenza, see page 1.​​

Ref: O17

Check out other articles on the flu (influenza):

Flu (Influenza) vs COVID-19: How to Tell the Difference

Flu Vaccine: Myths vs Facts