From late fall through winter, most of us are cooped up inside, often sharing space with others who may be sneezing, coughing, and sniffling. By practicing good hygiene and being careful to avoid cold germs, you may escape the cold and flu season unscathed. Incorporate these 12 tips into your daily routine to stay healthy all year long:
- Get a flu shot. It's the number one thing you can do to prevent the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently. Every time you shake someone’s hand, wash yours. And scrub your hands well for 30 seconds several times a day, too. Running plenty of water over your hands will dilute any germs and wash them down the drain.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If you can’t get to soap and water, sanitizer can kill effectively cold and flu germs.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Your eyes and nose are the most common place for germs to enter your body, so try to touch your face as little as possible.
- Catch some zzzzzs. Aim for eight or more hours of sleep every night. And if you feel a cold or other illness coming on, up it to ten hours.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables supports your immune system. Research also shows that a number of specific foods have the nutritional chops to boost your body's natural defenses against colds and flu. The list includes barley, kefir, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, and kiwi.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight the cold and flu viruses. Be sure to drink lots of water and avoid caffeinated drinks.
- Break a sweat. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, allowing your immune system to find and fight illness before it spreads.
- Keep your distance from those who are sick. Try to steer clear of people displaying symptoms like sneezing and coughing. That includes strangers, as well as co-workers, friends, and family.
- Put out that cigarette. Smoking increases the risk of infections by making structural changes in the respiratory tract and decreasing the immune response.
- Smile! New research has found that happiness may help you stay healthy. Laughing, smiling, and positive thinking can all give your immune system a big boost.
- Keep your surroundings clean. Take some time when you clean up your office or home to wipe down germy areas—-such as light switches, doorknobs, your phone, your computer, and your TV remote—with your favorite disinfectant.
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