Cold and flu season is here. Peak flu season usually occurs from the months of December to February each year in the U.S. The common cold and influenza both cause unpleasant symptoms such as runny noses, sore throats, coughs, congestion, and even body aches and fevers. Both are also highly contagious, however there are some preventative measures you can take to stay healthy, boost your immunity, and try to ward off getting sick.
Below, we listed ways to help you get through this year’s cold and flu season:
Get plenty of rest
Your body resets and heals itself while you sleep. Ideally, the average person needs at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Lack of quality sleep is linked to weakened immunity and can make you more susceptible to catching colds and illnesses. So every night, we suggest setting up a nightly routine, relaxing, and turning off all distractions to try to get a good night’s sleep.
Drink lots of fluids
Staying hydrated keeps your mucus membranes moist, which are your body’s first defenses at catching invading germs and pathogens. We recommend drinking lots of fluids, including: water, teas, soups, etc. You may also want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake since these tend to be dehydrating.
Dress appropriately for the weather
Research showed cold temperatures can weaken your immune system and increase your likelihood of getting sick. Germs and viruses are also able to survive longer and transmit in colder temperatures. So make sure to look at your local weather forecast before leaving your home and bundle up this winter.
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20+ seconds to get rid of any lingering germs. You should remember to wash your hands in instances such as when you’re: preparing food, touching cash, using shared gym equipment, using the restroom, etc. However, if you’re outdoors and hand washing isn’t accessible, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will do the trick.
Eat a well-balanced diet
A healthy and well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal health. Try to lay off the excess junk foods and instead eat lots of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meat which are all excellent foods for boosting your immune system.
Manage your stress levels
Stress leads to increased levels of cortisol in your body, otherwise known as the “stress hormone,” which can take a serious toll on your body’s immune system. In fact, researchers found that people under severe stress are more likely to catch colds and illnesses. Stress management techniques such as therapy, physical activity, taking a breather, etc. are great ways to help reduce stress levels.
Get your annual flu vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and its potential serious complications is to get your annual flu shot.