Seasonal viruses such as cold and flu can range from mild to severe and may come and go as the weather changes. However, no season is without the chance of catching something when out in public, and the best defense is a smart offense. The easiest way to stay healthy no matter the weather, is by adopting healthy habits and good hygiene.
Want to learn more about cold and flu preparation? We have the info you need to know to boost your chances of staying healthy.
The Difference Between Cold and Flu Viruses
While the symptoms may be similar, these two respiratory viruses range in severity. The common cold, which is typically more mild, refers to a wide range of viruses with a lot of variability. This is why no cure can be created, itâs an evolving virus with too many strains.
The flu, on the other hand, comes from the influenza virus, which is why it can often be prevented with a vaccine. The flu is also far more severe and can be deadly, killing as many as 36,000 Americans each year. Itâs also worth noting that the âstomach fluâ does not come from influenza at all and is a total misnomer.
6 Healthy Habits for Cold and Flu Prevention
A significant part of supporting a strong immune system is maintaining healthy habits in your daily life. Here are 6 youâll want to consider adopting, if they are not already a part of your lifestyle.
Wash Your Hands
It seems cliche, but proper handwashing is one of your best defenses against seasonal viruses. No need to use antibacterial soap, as rubbing together your hands for at least 20 seconds is the key to proper handwashing. Scrub the fronts and backs of your hands and in between your fingers (thumbs too!) before rinsing with clean, warm water.
Disinfect Key Areas
Certain surfaces in your home, like faucets, door knobs, and handles, are more likely to play host to germs and bacteria. Itâs important to clean and disinfect these areas regularly to reduce your chances of getting sick. If you donât like using bleach, natural disinfectants such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and thyme essential oil in water are just as effective.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your regular daily diet plays a big part in boosting or diminishing your immune system. A diet rich in a rainbow of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats can be considered the front lines of your immune response. Wondering what to focus on? Fill your fridge with broccoli, bell peppers, and blueberries; then stock your pantry with almonds, pumpkin seeds, and citrus fruits.
Exercise is the key to unlocking better health in many areas, and preparing against cold and flu is no exception. Many studies have proven a strong correlation between exercise and immune response. Research shows that activity boosts immunity by reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and improving antipathogen activity.
Keep Healthy Sleep Habits
A well-rested body is better prepared to fight off the viruses and germs you come into contact on a daily basis. If you arenât getting enough quality sleep you are at an increased risk of getting sick. When you rest, your body releases cytokines, which are needed for a healthy immune response. Additionally, some of the antibodies needed to fight illness are reduced when you donât get enough sleep.
Vitamins and Supplements to Keep on Hand
Round out your cold and flu preparation by keeping your medicine cabinet stocked with key supplements proven for seasonal support. Adequate levels of vitamins C and D are important immune-boosters, and if you donât get enough naturally itâs a good idea to supplement. Oscillococcinum from Boiron and Sambucus Gummies from Natureâs Way can also help reduce the duration of seasonal illnesses by supporting a healthy immune response.
How do you stay healthy during the cold and flu season? What are your âgo toâ preventative measures?