Photo: ShutterStockIt’s that time of year again-cold and flu season is just around the corner. This year, be proactive by taking steps to prevent these illnesses before they start. Here are some strategies for staying healthy.
Get Your Flu Shot
A cold is a mild infection of the upper respiratory tract that causes a runny nose, cough and sore throat. The flu hits much harder: Symptoms usually include fever, headaches, muscle aches and, at times, nausea and vomiting.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Get your flu shot! It’s the best way to prevent the illness, and it’s safe. Keep in mind that the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off, so it’s important to get inoculated every year.
Wash Your Hands
Both the common cold and the flu are contagious viral infections; you can catch a cold or flu if you come into contact with a contaminated person or object and then proceed to touch your face. Both viruses are airborne, and the influenza virus spreads particularly easily, so protect yourself, and those around you, by practicing good hygiene.
Wash your hands often-scrub with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water isn’t an option. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands; use tissues or your sleeve. And always avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Keep it Clean
Virus droplets from a sick person’s sneeze or cough can land on all kinds of surfaces, so make sure to disinfect things like doorknobs, remotes and phones. This is especially important if someone in your home or office has a cold or flu. Don’t share drinking glasses, utensils or-yikes!-a toothbrush with anyone who’s sick.
Regularly clean kids’ toys. And when you hit the gym, remember to wipe down equipment before and after using it.
Boost Your Immune System
Speaking of the gym: Don’t neglect your workouts as the weather cools down. Exercising is key to preventing illness because it keeps your immune system strong and healthy.
Eating a balanced diet will help stave off illness, too. Make sure you’re consuming plenty of fruit and vegetables daily, and stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water or herbal teas. Finally, make sure you’re getting enough zz’s: A restful night’s sleep is crucial to a healthy immune system.
And if You Do Get the Flu…
Keep Oscillococcinum® readily available. One of the most popular homeopathic medicines, Oscillococcinum (Oscillo for short) helps reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, body aches and headaches.
Listen to your body and give yourself the rest and recovery time you need. If your symptoms worsen-if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, severe vomiting, or fever lasting more than 3 days-see your family doctor right away.