Fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, headache and body aches. Were you one of the millions of Americans who got the flu last year? Try to skip the flu and even a cold by following these tips from our members.

Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.


I always get a flu shot, wash my hands often and avoid touching my eyes. I went many years without getting a cold or flu (until this year when despite getting a flu shot, I got the flu).

I used to get colds when I flew to Florida during the winter. Now anytime I fly, I use hand sanitizer to wipe down the armrests, seatback tray, video controls, etc., anything I might need to touch. I may look like a germaphobe, but I haven’t gotten sick after flying since I started doing that! Other passengers have even asked for a squirt of my hand sanitizer.

— Sandy D.


I wash my hands often and try to avoid touching my face and eyes after riding on public transportation. If I feel a sore throat or feel a little under the weather, I try to get some extra rest.

— GraceAnn P.


We take disinfectant spray or wipes with us when we travel. The first thing we do, especially in a cruise cabin, is to spray or wipe down all light switches, TV controls, doorknobs, closet hangers, drawer pulls, etc. We prefer the spray, but if we fly we use the wipes as an alternative. You don’t know the health condition of the people who occupied the room before you. This practice has served us well. We also use our knuckles or an elbow to punch elevator buttons.

We also are big fans of antiseptic mouthwash (with alcohol) and use it daily if we are in a group setting. You can buy it in many countries.

— Anonymous


I'm a registered nurse and have worked in high schools as a substitute school nurse for 10 years. My work environment is filled with sick students.

I get a yearly flu shot. Throughout my work days, I very frequently use hand sanitizer, alternating with washing my hands with soap and water.

I'm thankful that I don’t get sick with colds or flu considering all the sick students I'm exposed to. Is it my frequent hand washing or sanitizing, my natural, built-up immunities or the flu shot? It’s probably a combination of all three. Either way, I'm glad to rarely get colds or the flu.

— Eila K., RN


I very rarely get a cold or especially the flu. You must get a flu shot each year. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it is a big help.

When it comes to the common cold, you should keep up your resistance with proper diet.

But most important is good hand washing and staying away or at a distance from those who are sick or showing signs of illness. Always be mindful and careful about transferring germs.

— Donna B.


When around other people, I wash my hands often. I also keep a can of disinfectant spray at my desk to spray keyboards, door handles and chair backs, especially when someone else in the office is coughing, hacking and wheezing.

— Jeane F.