Cold and flu season is upon us, but there are ways in which to prepare and reduce your chances of catching the latest bug. Getting an annual flu vaccine and practicing good hygiene are great ways for a person to protect themselves and others. Some lifestyle and dietary changes can also reduce the likelihood of getting sick.
- Wash AND Dry Your Hands – It takes a good scrub with soap and water to actually rub a virus off your skin. Don’t skimp. Try singing the lyrics to your favorite song to ensure proper length of hand washing. And don’t forget to dry them well. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), wet hands are more likely to spread germs than dry ones.
- Take Your Vitamins – Vitamin C and vitamin D should definitely be on your shopping list. Vitamin C is known for improving the body’s immune response. Vitamin D helps our immune system stay balanced
- Get a Flu Shot – it’s simply the number one thing you can do to prevent the flu. Even if you end up getting another strain of flu, the shot may reduce symptoms.
- Stop Touching Your Face – According to a study in the Journal of Occupational Health, people who occasionally touch their eyes and nose are 41 percent more likely to develop frequent upper respiratory infections than hands-off folks.
- Consume Probiotics – Make Greek yogurt part of your breakfast routine and you might just ward off a cold or the flu. In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, people who consumed a specific strain of probiotics daily reduced their risk of catching one of these bugs by 27 percent.
- Sip a Cup of Tea – As long as it’s green tea. The main ingredient, a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can damage influenza virus particles and stop them from entering your system, a German study reveals. Researchers also found that catechin may interfere with pneumonia-causing bacteria.
- Use a Humidifier – When your nasal passages get dried out, their natural antimicrobial properties will suffer. Plus, a recent study suggests that maintaining an indoor humidity level between 40-60% can actually reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. Not at home during the day? Try using saline nasal spray to keep things moist. It acts like a humidifier to keep sinus mucus moving and can help wash away allergens and germs before they cause inflammation.