Cold and flu prevention tips

October is the unofficial start of cold and flu season, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While the illness activity spikes from December to February, cases pop up as early as October.

Last flu season, 80,000 Americans died from influenza, and as of October 16, a girl in Florida became the first recorded death of this flu season.   

While the common cold and the flu are very different diseases, many of the prevention tips remain the same.

Here are some best practices to help maintain your health over the next few months.

Get the flu vaccine.

We know it’s a controversial shot, but the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six gets the vaccine every year by the end of the October. While there are many, many strains of influenza, the vaccine typically targets the most common strains, therefore decreasing your odds of getting the flu.

Stay on top of your hygiene.

Wash your hands before you eat. Always. Try not to re-wear clothes before washing them. Wipe down counters and sinks every day. Do whatever you need to do to stay germ-free.

Hydrate.

Water, tea and juices help flush toxins out of your body. Natural juices are also a great source of vitamins, like Vitamin C, that helps boost your immune system.

Eat healthily.

If ever there was a time when it is extremely important to eat your fruits and vegetables, this would be the time. A balanced diet full of vitamins and nutrients helps support your immune system.

Stay active.

Depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find physical activities to do during the winter months, but it’s worth it. Embrace a yoga class. Take the kids to an open gym night. Find a nearby indoor trampoline park. Go ice-skating. Try your hand at bowling. Anything you can do to get your blood pumping is going to help keep you healthy. Just remember to wash your hands when you get home.

Sleep.

Yes, it’s that easy. Your body needs rest in order to prevent viruses from taking over your body. Try to get at least eight hours each night and you’re golden.

Don’t send your kids to school when they’re sick.

You shouldn’t go to work when you’re sick, either. When your immune system is already fighting something, you’re more susceptible to catch something else.

Drink tea, not alcohol.

Alcohol messes with your sleep cycle and leaves you more susceptible to illnesses. Instead, switch to green or black tea for numerous health benefits.

Clean your phone.

Do you know how many places you put that thing down during the day? Who knows what germs live on your most used accessoryg. Grab your disinfectant wipes and wipe it down. While you’re at it, disinfect your laptop and tv remote, too.

Avoid the crowds.

When cold and flu season is in full-swing, avoid going to crowded, compact places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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