We all try our best during cold and flu season to avoid staying sick. To make matters worse, sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up finding ourselves under the weather. Yet whether you’re trying to stay healthy or to banish that lousy cold you’ve already got, these tips and tricks can help aid you and your family during one of the year’s most sniffly seasons.
1. Double Up On The Greens
No matter the season, vegetables should always be a major part of your diet. They are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and other components that will strengthen your immune system and make you a stronger person. If you are stocked with leafy greens, you’ll find yourself sick in bed a lot less.
According to Healthline, veggies actually send chemical signals through the body. These signals result in cell-surface proteins being boosted, strengthening the immune-system. While veggies might not always taste as good as that greasy cheeseburger, you can bet that they’ll have your back when you find yourself surrounded by some nasty viruses.
2. Boost Up Your Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D is near essential to having a healthy and happy life. Sadly, it seems like the masses are getting less and less of the vitamin as the years go by. Office work and its accompanying lifestyle are more prominent than they’ve ever been, and this means that a lot of folks are missing out on getting that daily dose of sunshine.
A lack of the essential vitamin can lead to a lot of deficiencies like poor bone growth, cardiovascular problems and a very weak immune system. People who lack vitamin D become very unfortunately acquainted very frequently with the common cold and flu. If you aren’t one for sunshine, the vitamin can also be found in mushrooms, salmon, beef liver, canned tuna, and egg yolks.
3. Embrace Your Social Circle
Introverts beware: according to doctors, there is a huge connection between social isolation and illness. If you are stuck at home with the flu or a cold, it can take nearly twice the recovery time if you find yourself dealing with loneliness as well.
According to the American Psychological Association, one’s stress rate increases significantly when they are embracing a hermit’s lifestyle. Stress doesn’t only make you feel horrible, but it significantly slows down your immune system. So, by making time in your schedule to be spent with the people you cherish most, it can be said you are actively taking a stance to improve your health.
4. Fight Stress
Doctors have been suspecting a connection between mental stress and physical illness for years. As it turns out, pinpointing the sources of stress and then cutting them out of your life can do you plenty of good not only for your emotional well-being, but also when it comes to avoiding illnesses.
While escaping the challenges and stress factors in your life isn’t always an option, you can make it a whole lot less stressful by taking up mind-clearing activities such as meditation or yoga. Meditating for only twenty minutes a day won’t only combat illness, it can overall make a significant difference in how you feel.
5. Drink Green Tea
Tea is a healthy alternative to anything else you might drink. It’s more comforting than alcohol and way less harmful than coffee. When it comes to the many varieties of teas to choose from, green tea may be the best for you. This tea in particular is loaded with a high level of antioxidants.
According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, multiple cups of fresh tea a day can have several amazing health benefits. Not only will they strengthen your immune system, but they’ll also lower blood pressure and cut down your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. Just remember: this isn’t taking into account the milk or sugar you might add.
6. Make Your Meals Colorful
Some people have a hard time just taking the initiative to eat a lone fruit or vegetable. If one has avoided these healthy foods for too long, the texture alone may repel them. Frying, boiling, or baking them, and then putting them into something delicious like pasta may make all the difference in improving health and fighting illness. A common saying on the subject is, “Eat your colors.”
This means finding fruits and vegetables that fit the different colors of the rainbow, For example, adding some of the greens and oranges of vegetables into your meal can supply you with a proper dosage of vitamin C. Adding a couple veggies into all your meals can make a marked difference over time. This is especially true given the fact that constant vitamin C can cut illness duration in half.
7. Flu Vaccines Are a Must
One of the most obvious ways to fight the flu is to get the flu vaccine. Once the winter months are on the horizon, the reminder to get that flu shot is everywhere you turn your head. You hear about it on the radio, the television, and even from your coworkers.
While the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you safe passage through the flu season, it does give you a definite fighting chance. However, this definitely isn’t a path that every flu fighter can take. If you have an allergic reaction to eggs, you should avoid the shot at all cost, as it can lead to hives and anaphylaxis.
8. Keep Your Hygiene Up
If your personal hygiene is below standard, you shouldn’t be shocked when you fall ill. These things just don’t keep up your appearance, but they keep you healthy. For example, you should always wash your hands before and after cooking, putting in your contact lenses, or going to the restroom.
It’s important to avoid sharing things like toothbrushes, towels, and drinking glasses, and to disinfect surfaces like telephones, doorknobs, remote controls, and keyboards. Also, do the world around you a favor by covering your mouth with a tissue every time you sneeze and cough. If you have children, you should routinely wash their toys in soapy water.
9. Use Empty Kleenex Boxes
If you fail to keep the flu at bay, the sickness can result in your home turning into a giant waste bin full of crumpled-up Kleenex tissues. As the pile of used tissues continues to build up and spread from trashcan to trashcan, you are also bringing your housemates and well-wishers into much closer contact with your germs.
This can easily be prevented by reusing your empty Kleenex boxes and miniature trash cans to put your dirty tissues in. While you might end up with a few boxes by your bedside, you’ll be saving someone a world of grief after they come to check up on you.
10. Gargling Warm Salt Water
Things don’t seem like they could get any worse when you’re sneezing, blowing your nose, and coughing up a storm. However, that’s just the first half of your sick journey. Once your sinuses begin to drain, there is a fair chance that they’ll leave you with a bad sore throat.
This can cause you a fair amount of pain, especially when you’re trying to talk or swallow. You can help relieve this pain by simply gargling with some warm salt water a couple times per day. When battling a sore throat with this method, you don’t want to over-salt or under-salt the water; one to two teaspoons of salt should do the job.
11. Your Body Needs Solid Sleep
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, sleep is extremely underrated. People will exercise, eat great — and then sleep for only five hours. Sadly, these individuals aren’t doing their bodies any favors. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential to staying healthy and having tons of energy.
The Archives of Internal Medicine did a study whose results showed that individuals who got eight hours of sleep on a nightly basis for two weeks in fact had a greater chance of resisting illness like the flu. Those who only got seven hours or less of sleep had a way higher probability of getting sick.
12. Prop Up That Head
Fever, coughing, stuffy nose, body aches, and headaches can do an amazing job of depriving you of the sleep that your body needs when you’re sick with the flu. Sleep is on top of the list when it comes to recovery. While you repose, your body is hard at work attempting to repair itself.
Everything can change by bringing a few extra pillows with you to the bed. If you sleep with enough pillows to prop up your head and chest, you can aid in weakening the flu’s grasp on your body. This sleeping position will prevent coughing and loosen chest congestion, which will ultimately result in longer sleeps and a quicker recovery.
13. Purchase a Humidifier
The flu and cold’s ultimate avenue is perhaps dry weather. Whether it may be hot or cold outside, dry weather will make your illness feel intensely worse. The nasal fluids already making you congested will harden and become even more difficult to part ways with.
If you go to your local drug store and purchase a home humidifier, you could actually be cutting down your recovery time significantly. The moisture added to the air will break up your internal blockages and encourage the body to properly drain. Before bringing home that humidifier, make sure that you always keep it clean, as a dirty humidifier can cause its own slew of health issues.
14. Sober October, But After October
Dendritic cells are essential to making sure the immune system can do its thing. Those cells need to be in tip-top shape, especially during the cold and flu season. One of the number one enemies of dendritic cells is alcohol. Over time, all the boozy beverages we ingest, especially if there’s a lot of them in succession, can make you nearly defenseless against viruses.
Next time you find yourself at a bar or club with your friends, toss that cocktail to the side and opt for an ice-cold soda instead, or even a glass of water. To prove this point, the renowned journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology performed a study on mice, wherein some were supplied some with alcohol and others were kept sober. It turned out that the drinking mice were way more susceptible to illnesses.
15. DIY Hot Pack
If you’re sick, and your apartment is basically an urban igloo, then it’s a fair bet that your body aches are going to be over the top. You’ll be tossing and turning from dusk until dawn. That said, a little warmth can go a long way, and this is where a hot pack comes into play. If you haven’t bought one at the store, you can easily make one yourself.
Equip yourself with some uncooked rice and a sock. You can fill that sock with rice, tie it up tightly, and toss it in a microwave. After that, you’ll have a DIY heating pad that’ll last pretty long, and you can put it on all the spots on your body that need soothing.
16. Eat a Marshmallow
When you’re sick and your throat is burning, you’ll probably be racking your brain trying to find the right food and drink to give your immune system a kick. Of course, in this state, you’d figure that a marshmallow is the least healthy thing that you can eat. It’s full of sugar and belongs more inside of a glass of hot chocolate than your sick mouth.
That said, marshmallows, especially marshmallows containing gelatin, can in fact come to your aid while you’re ill. This sugary snack will do a good job of coating your throat and providing some much needed relief. Stuff a couple of these little pillows of joy in your mouth, and wave goodbye to all that annoying pain and irritation.
17. Smart Thermometer
A century ago, one particular strain of the average flu became an epidemic that wiped out millions. Look back at 1918’s Spanish flu outbreak and you can see how much damage this illness was able to cause. However, in the early 1940s, antibiotics came along and the flu suddenly ceased being as deadly as it once was.
Now with smart technology, our battle with the flu is an even easier win. With a smart thermometer linked up to your phone or other mobile device, you can keep track on your temperature, your medicine doses, and your flu symptoms. You’ll never be left in the dark about what’s going on in your body.
18. Vapor Rub Shower Melts
Showering doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with the flu. Some people completely forgo showering for days when they are sick with the flu, as they’re sweaty, shivering, and super weak. Leaving the comfort of your bed is the last thing you want to do. That said, a shower can end up doing wonders for your condition.
This becomes especially true when you utilize vapor rub to make vapor rub shower melts. These tough little guys will take battling your flu to a whole new level. The shower melts will pack a huge punch thanks to all that steam, so they can pummel your congestion to the ground.
19. Put Ginger Into Everything
One of the natural foods known to go a long way when you’re ill is ginger. The spicy little root packs plenty anti-inflammatory properties in it that’ll clear out your stuffed-up sinuses and relieve a lot of your pain. While it isn’t the most commonly used ingredient, it can be put into a lot of meals.
An easy starter is ginger tea. You can slip a few slices of fresh ginger root into hot water and top it off with a lemon and some honey for your throat. That drink alone will show an illness who’s boss. You could even make some ginger phở or even make some gingerbread. Sick or not, these will definitely rock your tastebuds.
20. Stay Warm
If you stay indoors and under heaters for the entire flu season, your chances of getting sick won’t be any lower. That being said, keeping out of the cold and staying warm while you’re sick will do wonders for you when you’re ill.
The cold will make it more difficult for the body to properly drain, which will lead to more coughing and sneezing. Chilly weather will also narrow the blood vessels in your nose. All of these factors will help the flu and cold virus to multiply at a much quicker rate. If you’re ill, do yourself a favor, stay home, and cuddle up in a blanket by the fireplace.
21. Isolate Yourself From Sick People
One of the best ways to stay healthy during the cold and flu season is to steer clear of sick individuals as best as possible. If your close friend is sneezing up a storm and they’re telling you that they’re coming down with something, perhaps resist that urge to comfort them with a hug? Do yourself a favor and stay away.
If you interact with a sick person on the regular, it goes without saying that you’ll probably get infected. If you have a sick kid or spouse, apply a mask and up your hygiene game. While living under a sick roof heightens your probability of catching the illness, if the situation is carefully dealt with, you could beat that bug properly.
22. Apply Vapor Rub
For hundreds of years, people have been using the combination of menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus to relieve symptoms of the flu. We also use this concoction in the present day, but we call it vapor rub. While we feel this brings us relief, we don’t exactly know how it does. Here’s what’s up.
Camphor and menthol are responsible for the cooling effect you feel when you use vapor rub. The eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can really bring an end to those aches and pains. The strong smell sends messages to your brain that trick your system into thinking you’re better. If you aren’t busting out that vapor rub in times of sickness, you’re really missing out.
23. Keep Your Lifestyle Active
It’s all too easy to spend your day sitting around and doing nothing physical without even realizing it. You sit in your office for eight hours, sit in traffic, and then you get home and promptly lose yourself in YouTube videos. Before you know it, the day’s over and all you did with your body was to move from one seat to another.
Regular exercise, even something as simple as walking, can really do wonders for your body. It does a good job of fighting stress by releasing stress-related hormones, keeps chronic disease and inflammation on check, and quickens the acceleration of white blood cells, which know how to help fight the flu or common cold.
24. Make Taking Medicine Fun
While most adults are able to suck it up and stomach some really disgusting medicine, children will put up the fight of a lifetime. By the time you get them to swallow the medicine, there will be cough syrup all over the carpet and the bottle will be half empty.
You can save yourself a lot of stress and cough medicine by purchasing a bag of lollipops. Few kids can resist a piece of candy. If you dip these lollipops in the medicine and give it to a kid, there’s a fair chance they won’t even notice the medicine on it. Pretty sneaky!
25. Purchase a Neti Pot
Some folks might not be hip to a neti pot and the relief it can bring to someone who is battling the flu virus. With this nifty device, you can pour water through your nasal canal and flush out all the mucus and debris that are stuffing you up and causing a world of sinus pain.
The whole function of a neti pot may sound uncomfortable and kind of gross, but it can instantly relieve a lot of stress and pain that comes with the flu. Once you apply this to your arsenal against the flu, you’ll never face the virus without it again.
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