During the cooler months, many people spend a lot of time in close quarters with friends and family sharing memories, hugs, kisses – and germs.
If you have survived so far without getting the cold or flu, your number could be up, and a runny nose, cough or fever could be in your future
Last year was one of the worst influenza seasons on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickening more than 49 million people. And children are extra susceptible, coming down with the cold or flu three times as much as adults.
For working parents, a sick child can quickly derail a work week. In hopes of keeping illnesses to a minimum, here are some ways to prepare for the onslaught of nasty viruses that usually peaks between December and February.
Get a flu shot
The best defense is a good offense. There’s a reason the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine. It is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Chances are you can still get one; they’re available at most pharmacies.
If not, put it on your calendar for next year. The best time to get the shot or mist is around Halloween. Remember, it takes about two weeks after a vaccination for flu antibodies to develop.
Wash (and watch) your hands
Something as simple as hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the flu. Hands — especially when they are used to muffle a sneeze or a cough — can spread germs to people and things.
A good wash requires at least 20 seconds of vigorous rubbing, using soap and warm water. If you can’t get to a sink, a backup is hand sanitizer with alcohol in it. Slip some into your purse and your kids’ backpacks. It’s also best to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Wipe away germs
Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces at home and in your workspaces, such as light switches, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, phones. Stock up on tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and disposable wipes. They are all great ways to provide a barrier between loved ones and flu bugs.
Emphasize healthy habits
Drink plenty of water and get your sleep and exercise. Studies show that all of these activities help prevent our bodies from getting run down. And when you’re run down, you are more susceptible to illness. Make time to:
- Stay hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of fluid — preferably water — daily. (Unfortunately, the caffeine in coffee doesn’t help with this goal.)
- Exercise four to five times a week — this includes a brisk walk. Researchers found that regular walking may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections, according to the American Council on Exercise.
- During sleep is when the body repairs and restores itself. The amount of sleep needed depends on age. For younger children, doctors recommend 10 to 12 hours. Eight hours is still considered ideal for adults.
Support your immune system
Nutrition can go a long way in supporting your body’s natural resistance to illness. Eating nourishing fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C can help your immune system fight off illness, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
And quality supplements can provide extra nurients, filling the gaps that may be in your diet. For generations, people have turned to echinacea and vitamin C when they think a cold is in their future. These days, these nutrients are available in many forms, from tablets to infused water.
Home cooking doesn’t hurt
Even with all these precautions, the odds are someone in your family, office, or circle of friends is going to get sick. So have a batch of homemade chicken soup in the freezer and stock up on cold remedies, from cough syrup to lozenges. Usually, recovery from a cold or flu happens in a week to 10 days. The best way to support the recovery process is to stay home, get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Check out Amway.com for several products that can help support your immunity, including Nutrilite™ Twist Tube 2GO™ – Immunity Health, Nutrilite™ Immunity Echinacea and Nutrilite™ Vitamin C Extended Release.*
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.