Cold and Flu Season
Fall is here, which means cold and flu season is officially upon us! While these terms are usually grouped together, they are actually two different illnesses. Only influenza viruses can cause the flu, but there are many viruses that can cause a cold. Typically flu symptoms include a fever and severe body aches. The flu can even lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia and bacterial infections. Fevers and body aches are less common in colds. Cold symptoms will usually include a stuffy or runny nose, coughing, sneezing or a sore throat. Don’t worry, though! Following these tips from WebMD, Live Science, and Everyday Health will help keep you and your family healthy so you can enjoy all your favorite fall and winter activities!
Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
- Wash your hands: It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold. Just make sure to use soap and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to get under your nails too! If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. This will help prevent the spread of viruses that cause the cold and flu.
- Keep your surroundings clean: Sanitize surfaces and doorknobs, sweep and dust frequently, and wash your clothes and take a shower after being around others who are sick.
- Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes: Germs enter the body through your mouth, nose, and eyes. So, if you are a nail biter, this is the best time to quit that habit! Also, avoid rubbing your nose or eyes during this season, especially if you haven’t washed your hands recently. Instead, use a clean tissue.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise not only strengthens your body on the outside, but on the inside, too. Regular workouts strengthen your immune system and help it fight off germs and viruses.
- Get plenty of sleep: Studies have found that getting enough sleep is essential for healthy immune function. So, give your body 7-8 hours of sleep a night to rest and recover from the day.
- Nourish your body: Fueling your body with proper nutrition will keep your body, mind, and immune system at its best. Focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
- Drink water: Drinking enough water and avoiding sugary drinks keeps your body hydrated and healthy. One recent study found that staying hydrated actually helps keep your immune system strong, which can help prevent the cold or flu.
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