How to Avoid Cold and Flu Germs
There’s no cure for the common cold. One reason is that what we refer to as a “cold,” could actually be one of hundreds of viruses that affect the upper respiratory system. And even though there’s medication for those fighting the flu, it’s a good idea to do your best to avoid these viruses in the first place.
But how can you avoid cold and flu germs, aside from living in a bubble all winter? Check out these tips below (and be sure to read our previous post on supporting immune health!).
Wash. Your. Hands.
We’ll say it once more for the folks in the back: wash your hands before eating, touching your nose, mouth or eyes and definitely after using the restroom, handling raw foods or coming into contact with shared surfaces, like door handles, gym equipment and gas pumps.
Washing your hands is a nearly foolproof way to fend off invasion by cold and flu germs -- but be sure you’re doing it right: you need soap and you need to rub those hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds (enough to sing “Happy birthday” to yourself twice -- cake is optional). When you can’t get to a sink, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good substitute.
Speaking of sanitizer, you’ll want to keep certain surfaces clean, especially if you’re sharing a home, office or other space with someone who’s sick. And while it can be problematic to oversanitize (it leads to resistant superbugs!), there’s a middle ground here: a quick sanitizing spray or wipe on the most-touched surfaces will suffice.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
OK, this one isn’t going to magically protect you from germs, but it’s a good idea to keep your body running optimally during cold and flu season. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re drinking at least eight glasses of water per day (individual needs may vary). And if you do suspect you’ve come down with a case of the sniffles, staying hydrated becomes even more important!
Eat, sleep, repeat
Another no-brainer, eating right (as in, getting the recommended servings of fruits and veggies!) and getting adequate sleep are excellent ways to support your immune system as it works to fend off foreign invaders. Certain nutrients and herbs can offer targeted support, including vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, turmeric and garlic. Some folks like to make their own immune booster shot, by combining lemon, ginger, turmeric and oranges.