The change in weather is a sign that cold and flu season is here. If you are like most Canadians, you probably fall victim to a cold or the flu at least once each year. Let’s face it: No one wants to get a nagging cold or a case of the flu that forces them to lose days at work or school.
Want this year to be the year you and your family stay healthy throughout the winter? Try these top 10 ways to beat colds and the flu this year:
- Get educated about the cold and flu season: The more you know about the leading causes of cold and flu and the preventative steps you can take, the less prone you will be to getting sick. Keep tabs on the news to find out about the illnesses that are going around in your area, and read about proactive steps you can take to lessen the impact of illness.
- Keep your hands to yourself and stay away from sick people: Sounds obvious, right? This advice can be a challenge when you factor in family members at home and being exposed to sick people at work and school. Did you know that 80% of colds are spread by direct contact? While it is virtually impossible not to touch anything, be mindful of what you do touch and make sure that you refrain from hand contact with your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth. Also, avoid direct contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands regularly: Since there are many places where germs are present, especially in public places, it’s important to wash your hands frequently. Wash them after you use the bathroom, after you come in contact with public structures (door knobs, hand rails, etc.), and before you eat. Remember, you should wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds. It’s also a good idea to carry hand sanitizer with you in case you don’t have access to a sink to wash your hands.
- Get a flu shot: Even if you do not have a history of getting the flu, it is still a good idea to get a flu shot. This is even more important for people who are considered to be at greater risk. Seniors, children, women who are pregnant, and people with chronic illnesses and conditions should make getting a flu shot a yearly occurrence.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a well-balanced diet and making sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body healthy will also help prevent getting a cold or the flu. When you don’t eat properly, your body lacks energy, which can undermine your immune system’s ability to fight germs, resulting in your body being at greater risk of becoming ill. Drink eight glasses of water per day to help flush toxins and germs from your system.
- Ramp up the vitamins and antioxidants: Another part of eating well is a multi-vitamin and antioxidant regime as part of your daily routine. Increasing your vitamin C, vitamin D, and antioxidant intake are great preventative steps.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep at night is essential. It allows your body and immune system to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge, all things you need to combat colds and the flu. Make sleep a priority, and you will reduce your chance of getting sick.
- Exercise: Most people tend to be less active during the winter. You may be saying to yourself, “Isn’t the gym one of the main places where I could catch a cold?” While the gym is a place you could catch a cold, the same is true for any other public place, and the benefits of exercise greatly outweigh the risks of being in a public place to do it. When you exercise regularly, you strengthen your immune system, helping your body be less prone to getting sick. So, grab your running shoes, hit the gym, and work up a good sweat!
- Learn to manage stress effectively: It’s commonly known that stress has a negative impact on our overall well-being. Stress also weakens the immune system and can be a cause of illness. Eating healthy foods and exercising are great ways to reduce the effects of stress on your body and keep your immune system strong. Try to find other ways to reduce stress in your life to help you combat illness this winter.
- Nip illness in the bud: If you start to feel rundown or notice signs of a cold or the flu, take action right away. Ramp up your vitamin intake, make sure you get quality sleep, and make an appointment to see the doctor. The quicker you take action, the more likely you can minimize the severity of the cold or flu. Don’t wait for the illness to set in.
While there is no one best way to beat colds and the flu, taking a proactive approach will lessen the risk of you or your family getting sick this year.
What actions do you take to help prevent colds and illness during the winter? We would love to hear your home remedies.