Surviving Cold & Flu Season

The winter months bring cold temperatures, fun holidays, and the stillness that follows newly fallen snow. There is also an influx of germs. Cold and flu viruses thrive in this weather and tend to spread like a plague. A few simple tips can help you avoid getting sick during the season.
While there is not an existing vaccination for the common cold, there is one for the flu virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu vaccine as the main preventative measure. While current vaccines might not protect you from every strain, you are still substantially protected. If you happen to get sick despite your best efforts, there are also medications available that can help shorten the length of time you are sick.
Hand Protection
Washing your hands with soap and water is the easiest way to avoid picking up cold and flu viruses. You should wash your hands as often as possible, scrubbing for a full 20 seconds. When hand washing is not feasible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Consider one with moisturizing abilities to avoid dry skin.
Hand to Hand Contact
Whenever possible, avoid shaking hands with people. Even if they are not sick, the hands can still spread these viruses. To avoid conflict, explain that you are taking precaution to avoid spreading these viruses. Most people appreciate the extra effort.
Sick People
Although it is not always completely possible, you should avoid people who are already sick from the cold or flu. If contact is unavoidable, wash your hands often and disinfect common contact surfaces. When contact is necessary, such as a sick family member, be hypervigilant about hand washing. Make sure the sick person stays in one easily infected area as much as possible.
Healthy Habits
While you should be engaging in good health habits during the entire year, during cold and flu season there are some extra measures you can take. Get enough sleep and drink plenty of fluids. Eat well-balanced meals rich in vitamins and nutrients. To give your immune system a boost, add some extra vitamin C. Reduce your stress levels as much as possible.
Overall, maintaining the same good habits that you have throughout the year can help protect you during cold and flu season as well. If you should get sick, maintain these same efforts to avoid getting other people sick. Stay home whenever possible.