How to Fight Cold & Flu Season
In the cold months, there’s plenty to look forward to, like hot cocoa just because, the potential to make the neighborhood’s best snowman and plenty of holiday cheer. But the cold months also bring the unwelcome sight of the start of cold and flu season. According to the CDC, influenza activity often begins as early as October, peaks in December and sticks around until March, but sometimes, as late as May.
While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid cold and flu season, there are a few precautions you and the family can take to help fight the season. Read below for steps to take to avoid the running noses, achy bodies and stuffy heads infiltrating your home.
1. Get your flu shot: The CDC recommends early fall months as the best time to get your flu shot but if you missed that timeframe, you can still visit your doctor’s office or local pharmacy any time during flu season to get yours. The CDC also recommends anyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine, so grab the kids and your own parents, too and make a day of it.
2. Always wash your hands: Properly washing your hands is good practice any time of the year because it helps stop the spread of germs but it’s especially important during this season. Daily contact with coworkers, classmates, friends and family means a higher chance to carry around any type of virus they may be carrying. Not sure the proper way to wash your hands? According to Dr. Ivan Ong, Microban’s VP of research and development, you should soap thoroughly, rub both the front and back of your hands for at least 20 to 30 seconds and rinse well.
3. Give your house a daily wipe down: The CDC notes that cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home, especially when there’s someone ill at home, can help prevent the sickness from spreading. You can take things one step further for year-round protection by investing in products with antimicrobial protection built-in, like countertops, bedding and even flooring. This technology helps stop the growth of potentially harmful germs and bacteria, so you can worry less about the day-to-day.
4. Eat to boost your immunity: According to medical professionals at the Cleveland Clinic, eating the right things can strengthen your immunity so you’ll be more easily able to fight off the bad stuff. But what’s the best way to boost your immunity health? They suggest eating a largely plant-based diet that’s rich in whole grains and nuts. Next time you’re planning your holiday baking days with the kids, try also planning some healthy, plant-based options you can prep the same day to offset the sweet treats. A win/win for everyone.
5. Treat it fast: If you do fall victim to a cold or the flu this season, take precautions early. Listen to your body, rest and stay hydrated with lots of water or electrolyte-rich drinks. Be sure to consult with your doctor at the first signs of symptoms. If you work or go to school, stay home so as not to spread potentially harmful germs to others. Finally, if a doctor prescribes antiviral drugs, be sure to take them. The CDC says that these are different than antibiotics and can make your illness milder and shorten your sick time.