It’s that time of year again – cold and flu season. Lots of people have already had a battle or two with illness and don’t want to do it again! I’m one of them.
So I’ve been doing research to see what I can do to keep from getting sick. Here are ten common sense steps that apply to both adults and children.
- Drink plenty of fluids – water is best.
- Get enough sleep. If you burn the candle at both ends, you’re going to be more susceptible to illness. And if you get sick, you’re not going to be very productive anyway, so save yourself the trouble and go to bed!
- Eat a healthy diet. Load up on fruits and vegetables, especially. They have a lot of nutrients that help fight off illness.
- Take your vitamins. I know there’s currently controversy over whether vitamins are all that beneficial, but for now, there’s no solid evidence that they aren’t. So let’s keep taking them, at least until spring!
- Sterilize your tooth brush. Dip it in alcohol, let it dry and rinse it out. Germs gone.
- If you start to get a scratchy throat, gargle with salt water immediately. My husband swears by this one.
- Avoid “group food”. Be careful around buffets and foods like chips and dip or other finger foods. You might be careful about not double dipping but you don’t know what the guy before you did.
- Wash your hands often.
- Spend some time outdoors. Get some exercise and fresh air.
- Use a nasal irrigation method (neti pot, for example) to prevent illness. Many people use this method after they’re sick but there’s evidence it can prevent illness as well. It can rinse out dust, pollen, pet dander and other potential allergic triggers. It can moisturize nasal passages thus preserving the cilia or tiny hairs in the nose which trap airborne germs and irritants. It can help open up nasal passages.
Now before you say “duh”, how many of these are you doing? I know I have a lot of room for improvement! But I’d definitely rather follow these ten steps and increase my odds for a healthy winter than go through another sick cycle again.