Flu season. A time of staying in, taking vitamins to boost your immune system, and warding off flu germs to the best of your ability. It’s the season where you feel that you’re doing everything you can to stave off the flu, but sometimes regardless of what you do, you or your children catch a cold or the flu. So what’s the best way to stay well? Sometimes fending off sickness depends on what you know beforehand, which is why we’ve provided 10 useful health and fitness tips to get through the cold and flu season. These tips can help you prevent contracting the flu, and keep colds at bay.
1. Get a Flu-Shot
While people have different opinions on vaccinations, the science of the matter (the source being the Center for Disease Control themselves) is that flu vaccine reduces your chance of contracting the flu by about 60% during the flu season. It’s ranked as one of the most important health and safety tips for kids, and is a relatively quick and easy step you can take to avoid contracting the flu and defend your immune system against influenza.
2. Keep Your Hands Clean
We all lead busy lives and are constantly on the go. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to what we touch and where our hands have been. We go straight from the subway to the restaurant without washing our hands in between. The best cold and flu safety tip in this case is to wash your hands frequently, and to make sure your children’s hands are also clean. The more you wash your hands, the less likely you are to contract cold and flu germs. If you’re unable to find a washroom at a moments notice, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer gel. It’s always a good idea to carry hand sanitizer or hand sanitizing wipes with you at all times so that you can keep your hands – and your kids’ hands – clean at all times. Another thing to watch when you are on the go is to not touch your face at all if your hands aren’t clean. This is the easiest way to ingest germs, so make sure your hands are clean and you should lessen your chances of contracting the flu or a cold.
3. Avoid Touching Anyone With the Flu
What’s the first thing we do when we meet someone new for the first time? We shake their hand. During flu season, it’s best to keep this to a minimum, particularly if the other person is showing symptoms of a cold or a flu. Some professions require you to shake hands a lot, for example, if you are a businessman or woman, or a doctor. Even if you’re in one of these professions, shaking someone’s hand is not a necessity. Doctors sometimes flat-out say they cannot shake your hand because of sanitation reasons. But that doesn’t mean they’re not happy to meet you. Another part of this cold and flu prevention tip is to make sure your child avoids touching or being too close to people who may be ill.
4. Keep Your Surroundings Clean
Another cold and flu safety tip is to avoid keeping a messy house or office space, as this is a breeding ground for germs. Especially during flu season, make sure you keep your surroundings clean. Wipe down desks, laptops and tablets with anti-bacterial wipes before using them. The cleaner your surfaces and surroundings are, the less likely it is that you or your kids will get sick.
5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
If your diet is high in vitamins and minerals, you can help keep your immune system in optimum shape. During flu season, make sure to eat nutritious food, get plenty of exercise, get enough sleep, and avoid stress as much as you can. Health tips for kids including taking vitamin B complex, C, and D, as these can also help keep colds and flu away. Remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, so this health and fitness tip isn’t just something you should do during flu season. It’s something you should pursue all the time. The healthier you are in general, the less likely you are to contract the flu.
6. Prevent the Spread of Germs
There are other small cold and flu prevention tips you can follow besides washing your hands and cleaning surfaces to prevent the spread of germs. For example, if you or your child does get sick, throw out the toothbrush of the sick person. Another cold and flu safety tip is to eliminate germs by using an air purifier in your home to facilitate easier breathing.
7. Keep Your Respiratory System Clear
Along with an air purifier, investing in a humidifier or a neti pot is another one of the great cold and flu season tips. A humidifier works for easing sore throats and a neti pot is good for clearing up your sinuses. Clogged up sinuses can lead to further infections, so investing in a neti pot (which you can pick up at your local pharmacy) is a good idea. If you find that your nose or your child’s nose is stuffed up, sleep with your head propped up on pillows so mucus doesn’t clog up the airways and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Another important thing to remember when it comes to keeping your respiratory system clear is not smoking. If you smoke, quit while you’re sick. If anyone in your household smokes, avoid cigarette smoke at all costs. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, most of which can irritate or kill cells in the body. Secondhand smoke increases bronchitis, ear infections, and asthma especially in children, which is why eliminating secondhand smoke is one of the number one health and safety tips for children.
8. Drink Tea
You’ll find this one in general health and fitness tips recommended to you as well. Ditch coffee and opt for tea instead. If you’re a milk and sugar person, substitute those things for honey and lemon instead. Tea helps flush out toxins from your body, and steam from tea stimulates your breathing which helps flush out germs. Additionally, honey has antibacterial properties which can help fight a cold, and lemons are high in vitamin C which have anti-viral properties and help lessen mucus.
9. Choose the Right OTC Medications
Recommended as a part of general health and safety tips for kids, over-the-counter medication can provide much needed relief for many of the symptoms of both cold and flu. Cold-Fix, for example, is an OTC medication that can help boost your immune system and alleviate cold symptoms. If you need something a little stronger, contact your doctor or talk to a pharmacist before making a decision on the type of medication you need.
10. Listen to Your Body
While all the other tips are important, this one is perhaps one of the most crucial cold and flu prevention tips. When you’re on the verge of getting sick, your body will signal you. You will feel tired, you may have a sore throat, and you might want to lay down. If you feel off, listen to your body and get some rest. Don’t push yourself to keep going because this will probably seal your fate when it comes to getting sick. Instead, slow down and get some rest.
If you do take the above steps to keep yourself well, you will greatly reduce your chances of contracting the flu. During flu season, the best thing to do is be cautious, take steps needed to keep yourself well, and if you do happen to get sick, stay home and build up your immune system so that you’re able to get back to your daily routine in no time.