Healthy Monday: How to Prevent Colds and the Flu

As fall rolls in, so does cold and flu season! Here are 10 ways to stay healthy:

Get Vaccinated: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a vaccination.

Stay Home If You’re Sick: If you aren’t feeling well stay home from school or work to prevent the spread of cold and flu germs.

Keep Your Hands Clean: Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom. Use warm water and soap, and make sure you lather up for the length of time it takes to sing happy birthday!

Cover Your Nose and Mouth for Sneezes and Coughs: Avoid spreading cold and flu germs to others by coughing or sneezing into a tissue. If none are available do it into your upper sleeve or the inside bend of your elbow. Turn your head away from nearby people.

Don’t Touch Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth: Germs that can get on your hands can easily get into your system when you rub your face. Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.

Get Plenty of Rest: When you’re sleeping, resting, or relaxing, your immune system uses the downtime to hunt and destroy harmful germs.   When you don’t get enough sleep you don’t give your white blood cells the time they need to do their job. Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Avoid Unnecessary Close Contact: Did you know that a person can spread flu germs a full day before exhibiting symptoms, and then up to five days after that? Steer clear of those with flu-like symptoms – they’ll understand. If you’re sick, avoid close contact with others.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables: Eating right is always important, but it’s particularly essential during cold and flu season. The vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can strengthen your body’s immune system against invaders.

Get Fresh Air and Exercise: It’s a myth that low temperatures cause cold and flu. In fact, the culprit is increased, prolonged contact with greater numbers of people. Going outside for a walk means you’ll get exercise and get away from potential germ-bearers.

Don’t Smoke: This should probably be rule #1. Smoking can make you more susceptible to a range of illnesses, from colds and flu to cancer and heart disease. The Office of Wellness Education offers quit kits and support for quitting smoking.

How do you stay healthy in the fall and winter?

Written by Austin Brauns, Peer Educators

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