How to Stay Healthy Through Cold and Flu Season
Cold and flu season is stressful. Not just because we have to deal with the symptoms, which are awful enough as it is, but also because of the impact that it has on our day-to-day lives.
Whether you are worried about missing work, concerned the kids will be off school, or not wanting to pass a cold on to a family member, everyone is affected by cold and flu season in some way. So, Quantum Health has a list of solutions to help stay healthy during these seasons.
Top Tips to Help Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season
There is no way of guaranteeing you won't catch a cold. However, there are several things you can do that may help reduce the chances of picking up a virus. Here are our top five tips:
1) Wash your hands frequently
Regular handwashing is one of the best defenses against germs. In fact, it is known to reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds and flu, by 16-21%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The key time to wash your hands include:
- Before, during, and after preparing or eating food.
- After using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or assisting a child who has used the toilet.
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- After petting or looking after animals.
- After touching the garbage or doing cleaning chores.
- Before and after attending to a cut or wound.
- Whenever they are visibly dirty.
Remember to wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds making sure you scrub every area of your hands, fingers, and wrists.
2) Use hand sanitizer
If your hands aren't visibly dirty, but you need to clean them, you can use hand sanitizer as an alternative when you’re out and about.
Make sure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol, and rub it all over your hands, fingers, and wrists for around 20 seconds until it dries.
Although hand sanitizer is a great alternative when soap and water aren't available, it doesn't kill all germs. Soap and water are still the most effective way to remove germs from your hands.
3) Get good sleep
Sleep has several health benefits, including supporting your immune system. People who sleep less than seven hours a night are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept more than eight hours a night, according to research studies.
Lack of sleep can cause chronic low-grade inflammation and also produce immunodeficiency, both of which can negatively impact your health and weaken your immune system. So, try and make time for a good eight hours of sleep each night if you can.
4) Speak to your family doctor about the flu shot
Although it can't protect you from every cold, the CDC recommends that the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get your annual flu shot. It helps to reduce the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even the risk of flu-related death.
If you are unsure where, when, or how to get your flu shot, contact your family doctor for advice. They can talk through everything you need to know about the seasonal flu vaccine.
5) Support your immune system
Supporting your immune system is one of your best defenses against colds and flu. You can do this by:
- Eating a nutritious diet.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Taking part in regular exercise.
- Avoiding smoking, alcohol, or drugs.
- Reducing stress levels.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
What Should You Do If You Do Happen To Get Sick?
If you do get a cold or flu virus, be kind to yourself. You should:
- Stay home and get plenty of rest.
- Avoid work, school, or visiting family and friends where possible so as not to spread the virus.
- Drink lots of fluids but try to avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat a healthy and varied diet.
- Speak to your pharmacist about over the counter remedies that might help ease cold and flu symptoms.