The cold and flu season is upon us; are you ready? If you don't want to spend days in bed with aches and pains, you better make sure that you're prepared for the fight. Luckily, there are ways that you can prevent the flu or, at least, make sure it doesn't knock you off of your feet. Here are five tips to follow if you hope to remain healthier than the next guy this season:
1.Wash Your Hands
If you counted the number of surfaces you touch on a daily basis, you'd be amazed at the total you came up with. Good hand hygiene is one of the first steps in preventing the flu. Make sure that you wash your hands several times a day and, for those times that you can't get to a sink, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket. When you wash your hands, make sure that you're doing it properly: use the hottest water that you can stand and wash for at least 15 seconds.
2.Don't Touch Your Face
People habitually touch their face hundreds of times a day. Each time you touch your face, you're transferring germs to your mucus membranes. Once these germs have been transferred, you are almost guaranteed to find yourself battling the flu. Do whatever you need to do to break the touching habit. Keep your fingers off of your eyes, nose and mouth at all costs, especially during cold and flu season.
3.Boost Your Immune System
The best way to win the battle against the flu is to not have to fight it in the first place. Pay attention to how you eat, what you're drinking and how often you're exercising. When you are generally fit and healthy, you are less likely to become ill. Make sure that you are getting enough vitamin A and vitamin C in your diet, pay attention to how much zinc you're getting in your diet and, if necessary, take an immune boosting supplement.
4.Keep Your Distance
While it's difficult to prevent yourself from getting germs in a room full of people with the flu, try not to make physical contact with these people. If you share office supplies, keep a bottle of Lysol or other disinfectant in your desk drawer and sanitize your supplies before you touch them. If you share an office bathroom, use a tissue when you open and close doors and flush toilets.
When you were little, your mom told you that it was polite to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Unfortunately, your mother probably told you to use your hand. Instead of covering your face with your hand, try to cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow. You're less likely to transmit the flu to others if those pesky germs aren't clinging to your hands. You're also less likely to contaminate your own surfaces if you use a tissue to cover your sneezes.
Sometimes no matter what you do, you will catch the bug. When that happens it is better to be prepared than wait until it is too late. Stocking up on tissues, medicine, liquids and vitamins will help you prepare for the worst. When the flu hits you want to avoid going out to get what you need to feel better. Stock up early and start taking vitamins and medicine if you begin to feel the symptoms to help speed up recovery.
Flu season typically runs from mid-October until March; that's almost half a year's worth of potential illness. If you follow the tips above, you're less likely to come down with a nasty case of the flu this season. By keeping your immune system healthy, washing your hands frequently and keeping your distance from people who are ill, you'll make it through fall and winter as healthy as possible.
Jason Swift writes for health blogs such as Del Immune Blog where you can read more about building your immunity.
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