In normal times, cold and flu season is worrisome for many people. During a pandemic, however, these health concerns skyrocket. It’s important to be vigilant this fall and winter to reduce your risk of serious health issues.
Maintain COVID-19 Protocol
Over time, it’s easy to become complacent if you and your loved ones haven’t been personally affected by COVID-19. It’s important not to let your guard down this flu season, however. Keep following the good habits you adopted at the start of the pandemic.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- When soap isn’t readily available, clean your hands with alcohol-based disinfectants.
- Avoid touching your eyes and nose if your hands aren’t clean.
- Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others in public settings.
- If you are sick, stay home.
Don’t Forget Your Flu Vaccine
One of the best ways to protect against the flu is to get an annual flu shot each fall. According to many studies, the flu vaccine can reduce your changes of getting sick by up to 70%. Even though the vaccine can’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, it can significantly lessen the symptoms and the length of the illness.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is important all year to boost your immune system and help you stay fit. Keeping off extra weight can benefit your overall health as well, by reducing your blood pressure and increasing good blood flow. Going for a brisk walk is an excellent way to stay active. In the winter months, an exercise bike can be also be effective.
Take Vitamin Supplements
There are many vitamin supplements on the market that can increase your immune response to germs.
- Vitamin C has been proven helpful in warding off viruses. The best vitamin C supplement has a high absorption rate. Liquid vitamin C is a good choice for maximum effectiveness. Many selections are available without sugar and artificial ingredients. Vitamin C can also increase energy and the production of collagen.
- Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that boosts the performance of immune cells and encourages healthy antibodies. Vitamin A also protects against foreign organisms.
- Vitamin D supports a healthy immune response by fighting off viruses and bacteria.
- Zinc works as an antioxidant to support the immune system as well.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is important in developing a strong immune system. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat proteins in your diet to protect against the flu. Complex carbohydrates, such as peas, whole grains and beans, are also key because they transform into glucose in the body. Glucose is used as energy in the brain and the body’s immune cells. Complex carbohydrates also provide vitamins and fiber.
Staying hydrated increases your body’s immune response for fighting off viruses as well. Water is always the best choice, but unsweetened fruit juices are also acceptable. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day to maintain optimal hydration. Keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum, however, since caffeine acts as a natural diuretic.
Get Plenty of Rest
Getting enough sleep each night is critical to your immune system. A continual lack of adequate sleep reduces your immune cells’ ability to fight off harmful viruses and bacteria in your body. In addition, your blood pressure decreases as you sleep, which gives your heart and blood vessels time to rest. Without this proper rest, high blood pressure and heart disease can result.
While you can’t eliminate every germ this fall and winter, you can significantly reduce your risk of illness by following some wise suggestions.