During the winter time viruses seem to be everywhere; from your co-worker who is coughing up a laugh to your sniffling kid wandering home from school, cold and the flu viruses are around every corner whether you know it or not. For some people, getting sick is a rare occasion while others seem to get sick all through the winter one bout of flu or a cold after the other. But, there are a few ways to help prevent a cold or the flu that can help you stay healthy this winter, so pay attention and follow these easy preventative measures this cold and flu season.
Wash Your Hands After Shaking Someone’s Hand
You don’t have to go barreling towards the nearest sink after you have shaken hands with someone, but it is smart to wash your hands within a few minutes of doing so. Hands come into contact with a host of things throughout the day from dirty door handles to an unconscious coughing fit into the hand, and each time those hands do so they become a cesspool of germs and viruses that you encounter every time you shake a person’s hand. By washing your hands afterwards (or applying a little hand sanitizer) you can help prevent a cold by eliminating the germs and viruses on your hands that could leave you susceptible to a cold or flu this winter.
Make Sure to Get a Good Amount of Sleep Each Night
When your body is tired it is more likely to not be able to properly fight off a virus that is trying to wreak havoc with your immune system. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and if you are feeling under the weather sleep 8-10 hours each night to help your body to quickly get over a cold or the flu before it becomes a week long battle for your health.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are filled with a wealth of vital nutrients your body needs to keep healthy throughout the winter. From vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system to folic acid that helps the body create an adequate amount of red blood cells, a diet filled with things such as leafy greens and vibrantly colored fruits/vegetables can aid in preventing a cold or the flu when viruses come knocking.
Studies have shown that people who regularly work out are less likely to develop a cold or the flu. Exercising can help to stimulate the immune system and give it a needed boost that could be just what your body needs to fight off the cold that’s been floating around the office for the last few weeks.
Follow the New Rule of Sneezing
It may seem strange after years of hearing your mother tell you to sneeze into your hand to make sure your germs don’t spread to other people, but your mother was sadly wrong. Instead of sneezing into your hand which touches other people and yourself throughout the day, sneeze into the crook of your elbow. The elbow is a veritable no man’s land that is rarely touched by yourself or others and is the perfect place to sneeze into and trap your germs as they exit your body. This will help you keep from coming into contact with germs all over again and possibly coming down with a cold or the flu that you might otherwise have avoided.
Quit that Smoking Habit
Smoking is a bad habit that can damage the lungs, but did you know that it can also leave your body less able to prevent a cold of the flu? The bad habit can increase your risk for infections by changing the structural integrity of the respiratory tract and can lower the overall immune response when you body comes into contact with a virus. Additionally, smoking can destroy hairlike fibers within your nose known as cilia that help to prevent germs and viruses from entering into the body through the nasal cavity.