Unless you were a germophobe before the pandemic, you probably didn’t think of your way of life as unhygienic. Soap flew off the shelves, and we started asking ourselves, hmmm… why wasn’t soap as popular before?

While much has changed since the beginning of the outbreak, experts have still continuously touted many healthy habits that we should have been doing all along. But the more we know, the better we become. Let’s hope that this cold and flu season is the healthiest we’ve seen in a while, with everyone’s newfound propensity for handwashing and immune boosting!

Here are five long-lasting healthy habits we should carry on even after the pandemic has cleared up.

1. Wash your hands often

And don’t just rinse them with water or quickly wash with soap — wash them thoroughly. The experts say at least 20 seconds of vigorous scrubbing with soap is required to remove any lingering germs. Even if you always wash up before eating or after a trip to the bathroom, you should be cognizant of washing throughout the day, especially when you come back into your home.

2. Stay put if you’re sick

We’re all probably quite guilty of still living life as usual when we’re mildly ill, which leads to community spread quite easily. Perhaps we’ll take this quarantined mindset into the future when we become sick. Stay put, rest, and get well before you go back into the world. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but decreasing the spread of illness as much as we can will help one trip out in public at a time.

stay at home when sick couch

3. Use that face mask if you’re sick

I’ve often seen masked people in the pharmacy section of the department store during the cold and flu season. When diagnosed with the flu, we’ve been given masks to use when shopping for immune boosters and any necessary medications. And this was many, many years before the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be seen becoming more popular throughout the flu season each year, which would help reduce spread if you have to leave the house for some essential items.

4. Don’t spray coughs and sneezes everywhere

Even if you’re home alone, get in the habit of coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow. As kids, many of us were taught to cover our coughs and sneezes, but we often used our hands. The elbow is a better place to catch your sneeze or cover your cough, especially when you’re in a situation where you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands right away.

woman sneeze into elbow

5. Keep your hands off your face

Because we’re always touching something, try to eliminate touching your face unless your hands have been freshly cleaned the right way. If you have germs on your hands, you’ll risk spreading them in your eyes, nose, or mouth if you don’t form the habit of not touching your face. This can be challenging, but with awareness, you can at least reduce how often this occurs.

What new healthy habits have you adopted during this time?