The onset of autumn means brisker weather, falling leaves, and the beginning of cold and flu season. The sounds of sneezing and coughing become commonplace. One obvious way to protect yourself from contracting a viral infection is to get a flu shot; however, getting vaccinated won’t guarantee you won’t get sick. Here are five simple tips to help you to stay healthy this season.
Use Good Hygiene
Washing your hands frequently is one of the best things you can do to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands after touching any surface that might be contaminated. Always cover your nose when sneezing and then wash your hands after. Avoid touching your face and eyes, as this can cause the spread of harmful bacteria. As much as possible, avoid contact with people who are ill.
Get Sufficient Rest
For your immune system to work properly, you must get a sufficient amount of sleep. Researchers have found that getting enough sleep not only can affect whether or not you get the flu, but also can make a difference in the length of time you are sick and the severity of symptoms. Fever is one way the body fights infection. Since fevers tend to go up during sleep, it’s important to get enough rest to ensure this process works at optimum level.
Eat Properly and Stay Hydrated
To ward off infection, it’s vital to drink enough water to keep your body sufficiently hydrated. Keeping nasal passages moist is essential to eliminating bacteria. One study found that people who drink three or fewer glasses of water per day were more susceptible to cold and flu than those who dri nk at least eight glasses of water per day. Eat a well-balanced diet to ensure you’re getting the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs.
Clean High-Contact Surfaces
Surfaces shared by many people are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. During cold and flu season, regularly clean faucets, doorknobs, TV remotes, and computer keyboards. Using the sanitize option on your dishwasher will raise the water temperature to about 150 degrees or higher, eliminating most harmful bacteria. In addition, change sponges used to clean kitchen and bathroom sinks and countertops at least once a week to decrease the proliferation of germs.
Change Your Toothbrush
Your mouth contains more bacteria than any other part of the body. Rinse your toothbrush with warm water after each use. Bacteria grow in moist environments, so don’t put it in a closed container. Keep it in an upright position so it will dry out before you use it again. After you recover from a cold or the flu, change your toothbrush, so you’re less likely to have a relapse.
Use good hygiene, get sufficient rest, eat properly, stay hydrated, clean high-contact surfaces, and change your toothbrush . Following these tips won’t guarantee that you won’t get sick; however, it will reduce your risk of contracting a cold or the flu, as well as improve your overall health.