The best way to stay healthy during cold and flu season is to take preventative steps before you feel that first sniffle, but this tends to be easier said than done, since according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu season swings into gear by late October, with the peak season happening between December and February. That’s a long time to fight back against germs!
If you’re looking for a few extra tools to add to your “No Colds/No Flu!” toolbox, here are some of the best-kept secrets when it comes to protecting yourself during cold and flu season this year. (Tell a few to your friends and family, too — these secrets should be shared!)
Eat Right and Move More
Following a healthy diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables along with establishing a regular exercise routine will help boost your immune system, leaving your body more capable of fighting off bacteria and germs that can cause colds and the flu. Physical activity, whether you choose running, walking, or any other form of exercise that gets your heart pumping, may help push bacteria out of your lungs, reducing your chances of getting sick. Filling your plate with healthy foods like broccoli, kale, oranges, bananas, and more ensures you’re getting the vitamins and nutrients you need to help strengthen your immune system to fight against any potential infections.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to negatively impact your immune system, and this can leave you more susceptible to colds and flu. Research published in the European Journal of Physiology found that consistent sleep deprivation (i.e. always feeling like you’re running on empty throughout the day) can cause inflammation in the body as well as immunodeficiency, putting your body in a compromising position when it comes to fighting off germs and bacteria.
Aim for seven to eight hours a night of sleep to keep your immune system sharp. If you already have a cold or the flu, sleep is even more important. Help yourself get a good night’s rest with Theraflu Nighttime Multi-Symptom Severe Cold Hot Liquid Powder, which helps you rest easy as medicines go to work on your cold and flu symptoms.
Stress can do a number on not only your mental health but also your physical health. Research published in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that higher levels of stress were associated with greater symptom severity in subjects dealing with upper respiratory infections. Everyone reacts to stress differently, and certain individuals may be able to cope with stress better than others. Regardless of how you perceive yourself to deal with stressful events at home and work, it’s important to practice self-care in the form of yoga, meditation, reading, or any other activity that helps you to unwind and deal with the daily stressors to help your immune system stay in tip-top shape!