Convenient Hacks To Avoid A Cold And The Flu During The Winter

July 24, 2023

There are over two-hundred viruses that contribute to colds and the flu. Every year, adults get two to four colds each year, whereas children can get as many as five to ten due to not having built up an immunity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported the flu kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 individuals each year. The peak month for flu activity for the past few years has been in February, followed by December, March, and January. With this in mind, it is essential to know how to avoid and treat the cold and flu.

Get the details on convenient hacks to avoid getting sick (and how to manage illness should it occur anyway) now!

Wash Hands And Sanitize

One of the best ways to avoid a cold this winter is by keeping good hygiene. It is imperative for individuals to wash their hands after they shake hands with someone. However, hands can never be too clean, so they should be washed as often as possible. Another way to keep good hand hygiene is by keeping and using sanitizing gel or alcohol-based hand wipes whenever they cannot wash their hands. However, wipes that are not alcohol-based will not be as effective. The proper way for individuals to wash their hands is by wetting them with clean running warm water, lathering with soap for a minimum of twenty seconds, and then rinsing them under warm or hot water once again.

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Keep Working Areas Sanitary

The viruses that commonly cause colds and flu are easily passed from person to person or contracted from surfaces. A survey by Staples found sixty-five percent of employees go to work while they’re sick and eighty percent are cleaning their work areas once a week. A good habit to get into during the winter months is carrying antiseptic wipes or sanitizer to wipe down and disinfect surfaces and objects that might have come into contact with ill co-workers. Areas to keep clean include desks, keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, pens; essentially, anything may be considered common-ground amongst co-workers.

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Get Adequate Sleep

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night can help individuals prevent themselves from getting sick, as it can give their body time to fight off any virus that might be attacking their immune system. Not only does adequate sleep help fight off a cold, but it also increases an individual's resistance to catching one. Sleep deprivation may lower the immune system, making patients more vulnerable to infection and illness.

During a study of 153 men and women between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five years old, subjects who slept for less than seven hours per night were 2.94 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for eight or more hours.

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Eat Healthy Food

Eating healthy can provide individuals with a lot of the essential nutrients to help fight off sickness and boost their immune system. Eating five servings every day of a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to strengthen the immune system to fight off the cold and to get an adequate number of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Eating a balanced diet of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds is vital to keeping a healthy immune system. The protein that comes from lean meats, milk, eggs, and legumes are also crucial because they are rich in amino acids that build the components of the immune system.

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Exercise To Build Immunity

Regular exercise is a great way to prevent illness because it strengthens the heart and the immune system. Walking for half an hour each day, or going to the gym a few times a week can provide these benefits. One study found individuals who exercised for a year had one-third the number of colds as those who were not active.

Exercising can be beneficial while ill as well. If symptoms are above the neck such as nasal congestion, runny nose, or sneezing, exercise is excellent. However, if the patient has a fever over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, a cough, fatigue, muscle aches, or chills, they should wait until those symptoms have gone away before exercising.

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Drink Lots Of Fluids

Drinking a lot of fluids is an excellent way for individuals to keep hydrated and flush their body of any toxins. Decaf tea with honey is a great drink to prevent or aid a cold due to the antibacterial properties of the honey, and the heat which can soothe nasal congestion, a sore throat, and an upset stomach. Another beneficial drink is hot or cold water with lemon. If served hot, individuals can add ginger to help boost their immune system. Whether hot or cold, lemon water is great for hydration and it is loaded with vitamin C. Individuals should, however, try to avoid drinking anything with a high content of sugar, including sports drinks, fruit juices, coffee, pop, and alcohol.

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Acupuncture And Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure treatments bring some immediate relief to the symptoms of a cold or flu and may shorten the length of the illness. Acupuncture can prevent colds and flu by strengthening the immune system and improving the circulation of blood. Acupressure works by stimulating the production and growth of white blood cells that prevent infection and protect the body. Many acupressure points are beneficial to someone suffering from a cold or flu. The Outer Gate is an acupressure point that when stimulated alternately on both arms, increases the resistance to cold. It is located three fingers above the wrist, on the outside of the forearm, between the two tendons.

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Avoid These To Dodge A Cold

Of course, one of the first things for individuals to avoid when worrying about getting a cold is anyone who may be sick. However, there are many other things that when avoided, might better chances of preventing a cold or flu. Alcohol interferes with quality of sleep, which can disrupt REM sleep, the most restorative part of rest. It also weakens the immune system which is why it should be avoided if possible. Other things to avoid are recreational drugs, cigarettes, sugary and processed foods, and stimulants, such as coffee or energy drinks. Things that should also be avoided are chemical food additives, pesticides, and negative emotions like anger, fear, stress, and worry.

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Treating A Cold With Herbal Medicine

Many natural herbs and medicines can help to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold and the flu. Inhaling the steam of eucalyptus oil can help by thinning the mucus in the respiratory tract. Ginger can be used to remedy a cough and sore throat. Honey can be used to coat and soothe a sore throat, and it also contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties that help with fighting off illness. Individuals may also use elderberry to strengthen their immune system and block viruses from attaching to cells. Other herbal medicines that may help battle cold and flu symptoms include astragalus, echinacea, ginseng, and garlic.

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Treating A Cold With Medications

Many different over-the-counter medications can be taken to relieve the symptoms of a cold or flu. If a patient is suffering from all the symptoms, they should use a cold and flu all-in-one medication to reduce the amount of medication they are consuming. For a stuffy nose, decongestants in the form of pills, syrups, or nasal sprays will work. However, patients should not take more than one of these at a time. It is suggested to start with nasal spray before switching to pills or syrup if the symptoms continue to last for a few days. Sick individuals should take an antihistamine for a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. For a cough, cough suppressants, expectorants, and syrups will help alleviate symptoms. If there is a fever, aches, and a sore throat, patients may require acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower their temperature and ease the pain.

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