How to Take Care of Yourself During Cold and Flu Season
During any given year, people in the United States suffer from a whopping 1 billion colds. However, it's not just colds we have to worry about. With the flu and COVID-19 thrown into the mix, it's important to learn how to take care of yourself properly.
You can get sick any time of the year, but it's especially easy to get hit with a horrible head cold or even the flu during cold and flu season. Yep, even in Miami where it doesn't get that cold and the weather stays pretty consistent.
So, as we head into the holiday season and you prepare to mix and mingle with friends and family, here are some tips on how to protect yourself against these illnesses and bolster your immune system.
Why It's Important to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
No one wants to deal with the sniffles and sneezes of a cold or the achy joints and fever of the flu, but unfortunately, these ailments are all too common during the winter months.
While it might seem like nothing more than an inconvenience, it's important to avoid the cold and flu if at all possible.
Not only can these illnesses make you feel miserable, but they can also lead to more serious complications, particularly in young children, elderly adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid getting sick this season.
How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
We all know that feeling: you start to feel a little under the weather, your throat gets scratchy and your nose starts to run. You might even start to feel a little feverish. The next thing you know, you're down for the count with a full-blown cold or sinus infection.
When your immune system is strong, however, you're much less likely to succumb to these illnesses in the first place. So how can you boost your immune system naturally? There are several things you can do to give your immune system a boost, including:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing stress
Eating a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. These foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that help keep your body healthy. Namely, you'll want to consume a lot of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Exercise also helps to keep your immune system functioning properly by increasing circulation and allowing your cells to better fight off infection.
Finally, reducing stress can also help boost your immune system. Stress weakens the immune system, so reducing stress in your life can help keep you healthy. While it's tough to manage stress during the holidays, try relaxing meditations or mindfulness exercises.
7 Cold and Flu Tips for Staying Healthy
Lucky for you, most cold and flu advice is similar to the advice we all received during the pandemic. This means that implementing these tips shouldn't be hard as you've grown accustomed to following these guidelines.
1. Wash Your Hands Frequently
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's amazing how often people forget to do it. In addition to washing your hands after using the restroom, be sure to wash them before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after coming into contact with someone who is sick.
2. Carry Hand Sanitizer
One of the best ways toavoid getting sickis to carry hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are very effective at killing bacteria and viruses, so using one before you eat or after you shake hands with someone can help you avoid contracting a cold or the flu.
It's also a good idea to use hand sanitizer after you've been in a public place where someone might have coughed or sneezed, such as a bus or a store. When in doubt, think back to March 2020 and follow similar guidelines for sanitizing your hands.
3. Wash Toys & Bedding Frequently
One often-overlooked step in preventing the spread of illness is regularly washing toys and bedding. Since kids frequently put their hands in their mouths and often sleep with stuffed animals, these items can quickly become breeding grounds for germs.
To help keep your family healthy, make sure to wash toys and bedding regularly (at least once a week).
4. Disinfect High-Touch Areas
We all know how important it is to stay healthy during cold and flu season. One of the best ways to do this is to disinfect high-touch areas in your home. This includes door handles, light switches, countertops, and any other surfaces that you commonly touch.
5. Get Fresh Air
One way to help prevent catching a cold or the flu is to get fresh air. Opening windows and doors for a few minutes each day helps to circulate indoor air and remove any stagnant particles that may contain viruses.
In addition, fresh air helps to keep your body temperature regulate, which can be important in preventing infection. So next time you're feeling cooped up, step outside for a breath of fresh air. It just might help you avoid getting sick.
6. Get Enough Sleep
When you're tired, your body is weaker and less able to fight off infections. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. If you do get sick, make sure to get plenty of rest so you can recover quickly.
7. Get Your Flu Shot
Most people know that the flu shot is important, but many don't realize just how effective it can be. It's also one of the best ways to protect your loved ones from the flu if you plan on visiting elderly relatives this cold and flu season.
Keep in mind that treating colds and flu is fairly easy these days with modern medicine. However, those who are vulnerable have a higher risk of complications.
Navigate the Healthcare System With Choice MD
Avoiding getting sick during cold and flu season is only one small part of staying healthy throughout the year. Visiting your doctor frequently can help you stay on top of all things health-related.
Not sure who to see and where to go in Miami? We understand how the healthcare system works and can provide you with options that work for your unique situation. Our goal is to make sure you get the best care possible at a price you can afford.
Click hereto browse our online directory of top providers in the Miami area.