The cold and flu can both leave you feeling miserable. There is no cure so the only course of action is to treat the symptoms once you develop them, but you can take these steps to prevent getting a cold or the flu.
- Flu shot
- Basic hygiene – wash your hands and use hand sanitizer
- Stay away from sick people
- Get plenty of rest
- Build the immune system with a healthy diet
Protect Yourself from Germs
Preventing colds and flu can be done by protecting yourself from germs. Staying away from sick people and frequent hand washing are two of the best ways to protect against germs. Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer in place of antibacterial soap will help prevent the spread of germs to other areas on the body such as the nose and mouth.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door to public restrooms. Germs can live on surfaces for hours, and high traffic areas are vulnerable to thousands of them. When you turn the faucet on your hands are dirty, when you go to turn it off touching it will make your hands dirty again and cause you to pick up germs.
- If you are in close contact with a sick person, such as caring for them in your home, it is important to wash everything they have come in contact with such as pillows, sheets, etc.
Build Up the Immune System
The immune system fights germs and keeps you healthy when you have been exposed. Things such as being overly tired can make the immune system weak and cause difficulty fighting infections. Going to bed at the same time every night and having a set bedtime routine will keep you rested and strong.
Eating a healthy diet that is good for the heart and ensuring that you get adequate amounts of vitamin C will help to keep the immune system healthy. Including plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet instead of processed foods will keep you in better health while fighting the onset of cold and flu. You should also exercise regularly even if it is simply going out and taking a walk.
Vaccinate Against the Flu
Regular visits to the doctor will ensure that everything possible is being done to protect your health. A flu shot is vital to the prevention of the flu, pregnant women and the elderly are at a higher risk making the vaccine even more important for them.
The lack of a cure for cold and flu makes prevention vital to remaining in good health. Smoking can irritate the nasal passages so quitting smoking and avoiding cigarette smoke if you are a non-smoker can help you to decrease the chances of getting sick.
When someone in the home is sick it is important to avoid the transfer of germs from one person to another. Using disposable items that can be thrown away and disinfecting surfaces can help to prevent the germs from spreading from one person to another.
Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for 20 years. She is also a freelance writer who shares articles with Healthline.com.
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