For this month’s Cloud Nine let’s discuss How to Survive Cold and Flu Season.
Nobody enjoys getting sick. Cold and flu viruses are down right miserable. While you can’t avoid germs entirely you can reduce exposure. Therefore reducing your chances of becoming ill.
This is, of course, the most obvious way to stay germ free. Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizing gel often to kill germs. Also, whenever possible avoid any close contact with someone that is sick. If you are sick be polite & avoid others. Just explain that you aren’t being rude, but are simply trying not to spread your germs. Don’t forget to sanitize your surroundings as well. Don’t be afraid to frequently wipe down commonly touched surfaces like door knobs, light switches, and even the TV remote with a disinfecting wipe or spray especially if they’ve been recently used by someone that is sick. As Mad Eye Moody would say “Constant Vigilance!” is the best way to keep germs at bay.
2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
This isn’t always the easiest thing to do especially considering how hectic life can be, but every little bit helps. Staying fit, getting proper nutrition, and making sure you are well rested will actually help your body fight off viruses more easily. If you don’t already take one, adding a daily multivitamin can do wonders to boost your immune system.
3. Get a Flu Shot
The CDC and doctors recommend you get a flu shot every year. Personally, I’m not a big fan of needles so I skip this tip, but I have family and friends that will go out of their way to be sure they get an annual flu shot. I’d say it can’t hurt to try, but there is the whole needle prick so I’ll say that it can’t hurt…too much.
UH OH! None of that worked!
Now sometimes a pesky persistent virus will slip past all that prevention. Then you find yourself sneezing, coughing, and just plain miserable. These things happen. So here are a few tips to help you feel better and maybe even shorten the stay of the virus:
1. Be Ready
I realize it probably seems like an odd idea to prepare to be sick, but we also know when cold and flu season is coming so why not be ready when it gets here especially if you are prone to catching these awful bugs. Be sure to stock up on the products you use most when you aren’t feeling well, like tissues. It’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
2. Use the Right Medications
The cold and flu section of the drugstore can be pretty overwhelming, but it’s important to take time to read the labels. There is no need to take medicine for symptoms you don’t have. You also want to make sure that if you are taking more than one medication they don’t have the same active ingredients. Doubling up medications isn’t going to help any faster and could end up making you feel worse. When in doubt ask the pharmacist.
3. Antibiotics Won’t Help
A cold or flu is a virus and antibiotics only work on bacterial infections. Your health care provider can tell you if the issues you are dealing with are viral or bacterial in nature. The average cold or flu virus lasts about 5 to 7 days. If your symptoms have been around longer than that you should see you doctor to determine what is causing them.
4. Please Stay Home
I know from personal experience that this can be the hardest part of being sick and isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Many people don’t have sick days or have a boss that is (to be blunt) a jerk when you call in sick. Sometimes, your own work ethic makes it difficult for you to stay in bed. Before you decide to come to work sick, consider a couple of things. Most importantly you need all the rest you can get to get healthy again. There is a reason you are so worn out when you’re sick. It’s your body’s way of letting you know it is healing. Pushing yourself is only going to slow the process down. Another consideration is that your illness goes with you. Do you really want to get everyone you come into contact with sick too? Do yourself and everybody else a favor and stay in bed.
5. Extra Fluids
I’ve said it before and will most likely say it again…hydration is key! You can drink water, tea, juice, broth, sports drinks, even coffee whichever you prefer, just keep the fluids flowing. You can even have one of the Fruit Smoothies from our Customizable Cooking section. When you are sick the only fluids I suggest avoiding are alcohol and any type of dairy. Alcohol is known to dehydrate your system and dairy products tend to increase mucus production. Both of which are the opposite of what you want when you are already feeling poorly. I personally love a nice warm cup of peppermint tea or hot cocoa to soothe my throat when I’m not feeling my best.
The girls at What’s Your List? shared the things they like to do when they aren’t feeling well.
What things help you get through cold and flu season? Tell us in the comment section below.