Fact: Adults get about three colds a year on average, each lasting seven to ten days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As if that’s not bad enough, 5 to 20% of us will get the flu, which can make life miserable. You can help strengthen your family’s immune system – and your own – with the following tips for surviving cold & flu season.
Getting a seasonal flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family against the flu viruses going around each year. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as the vaccine comes available. Flu vaccines can reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, and missed time from work and school.
Crack Open a Window
As more people are cooped up inside stuffy rooms during the colder months of fall and winter, the risk of catching a cold, or the flu from co-workers and school-aged children increases. Letting a little fresh air circulate keeps airborne particles on the move, making them harder to pick up.
Wash Hands Frequently
Washing your hands frequently – with soap and water for 20 seconds – is key to defending yourself against cold and flu viruses. It is especially important to wash your hands after touching anyone or anything that may be germy. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, found at most any retailer.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Getting a good night’s rest is essential! That, along with eating a healthy diet, keeps your immune system healthy and better able to fight off infection. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get at least seven hours per night. Children and teens require even more.
Keep Floors Clean
Your carpet is your home’s biggest air filter. Your carpet traps tracked in dirt, pollen, insecticides, and bacterial matter so that they don’t recirculate in the air and spread through your home. Weekly vacuuming is helpful for removing these particles. Routine professional carpet cleaning, however, ensures the best indoor air quality.
A healthy diet can strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off infections. Make sure to consume a good balance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates to help keep your body in prime shape to fight off germs. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well. You should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day.
Feeling under the weather? Consider taking the day off (if possible). Even if you feel that your symptoms are mild, you could still be contagious, which means that the virus could spread to others. Doctors recommend getting plenty of rest to reduce your recovery time.