How to Avoid Getting Sick During the Cold and Flu Season
With the kids back in school and family activities well under way, a case of the sniffles are bound to happen. However, these sniffles can quickly turn into something much worse. If you manage to catch the bug going around, you could find yourself struggling to get through the day. While there is no way to ensure that you do not get sick, there are certainly ways that you can minimize the risk and stay healthier.
Maintain Healthy Habits
When the germs start to make their rounds, staying healthy seems like it can be a chore. However, there are a number of healthy habits that will keep other people’s germs away. For example, keeping your hands clean by washing them before eating or after touching items that are handled by a number of people daily, such as door handles and money, will keep the harmful bacteria away. It is not a bad idea to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer within reach, especially if you suspect that soap and water may not be available. Further, germs enter the body through the body’s openings, which include the nose, eyes and mouth. While keeping your hands away from these orifices is a good habit to have in general, this habit could be the difference between getting through the cold season unscathed and muddling through several weeks with a stuffy nose.
Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
Eating healthy on a regular basis may give your immune system the boost it needs to keep you from actually getting sick if you come into contact with flu germs. If you do start to feel sick, cooking up a batch of chicken soup might take an edge off of those cold symptoms. In fact, Professor Stephen Rennard, M.D., from the University of Nebraska Medical Center actually discovered in a study that homemade chicken noodle soup inhibits neutrophils, which are inflammatory cells that actually make you feel seek. Further, ensuring that you stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water or hot beverages may keep you feeling better if the symptoms start to appear.
Reduce the Stress
Fall and winter can be the most stressful months of the year, especially if you have kids in school. With extracurricular activities, school work, errand-running and work, it is easy to see why people tend to become stressed out. However, there is evidence that those who are highly stressed are actually more likely to actually get sick if they come into contact with germs. According to Ronald Glaser, who is the director for the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research located at Ohio State University, those who are more likely to get sick tend to be older individuals or those who suffer from chronic stress. In addition, those who smoke, do not regularly exercise and do not watch their weight may also be more likely to get sick. To help reduce your body’s stress, set aside some time in your schedule to exercise or to engage in an activity that you love, like reading a book or playing a video game.
Make Use of a Humidifier
Cold and flu viruses generally thrive in dry environments. The cold fall and winter weather can cause your body’s mucus membranes, which trap germs entering into your body through your nose and throat, to dry out, making it much easier for cold and flu viruses to thrive and potentially make you ill. A humidifier helps to keep your home environment moist by releasing moisture into the air. Just make sure to switch out the water in your humidifier once every other day or so to keep your air healthy.
Feeling Sick? Stay Home
While the goal is to keep from getting sick, sometimes it is just inevitable. If you or your family members feel like they may be getting sick, It is best to stay home, pickup a book and make yourself comfortable. Staying home at the first sign of a stuffy nose and sleeping it off may keep the symptoms from becoming worse. Additionally, you will not have the burden of potentially causing others to suffer the same fate.