Winter – also known as cold and flu season – can leave you more prone to falling ill in the cold months. There are over 200 different cold viruses, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults average two to three colds each year. Both the common cold and the flu are contagious, but cold symptoms tend to be milder and improve within a week to ten days.
Seasonal flu activity occurs between October and May. Unlike a cold, the symptoms start suddenly and are more severe including high fever, extreme fatigue and body aches. Each year, up to 15 percent of people are affected by influenza, but recover in less than two weeks. You can take some precautions to avoid getting the flu and colds this winter.
1. Get a flu shot.
A flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the virus.
2. Eat your fruits and veggies.
Your daily five servings of fruits and vegetables give your immune system a boost.
3. Stay hydrated.
By drinking plenty of water, you flush toxins out of your body. Health authorities recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
A lack of sleep will impair your immune system. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night – or more if you are feeling under the weather.
5. Wash your hands frequently.
Use an ample amount of soap and rub your hands together for 20 to 30 seconds before rinsing. Use an alcohol-based hand rub when you don’t have access to water.
6. Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
If you do come down with a bad cold or the flu, stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours. Get plenty of rest, drink fluids and use steam from showers to ease sinus pain and pressure.