We love winter for many reasons: hot chocolate, cozy sweatshirts, crackling fires, and of course—the holly jolly holidays. But some of the not-so-enjoyable things that come with colder weather are runny noses, coughing, or worse–the flu.
Now is the time of year to ward off the very real threat of colds, flu, and other scary winter germs lurking on every doorknob, in every bathroom, and on every grab rail. When temperatures drop and windows and doors stay shut, viruses can thrive indoors. If your immune system isn’t up to the task, you’re likely to catch the latest bug to hit town. This means less energy, the possibility of health complications, and just plain ole feeling awful.
So how do you protect yourself? Smith Transport has compiled a list of measures you can take—and what you should avoid—to stay healthy this cold and flu season.
Put these 6 tips to use so you can be healthy and happy this winter:
Tip #1) Get a flu shot.The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and its complications. It also helps prevent spreading the infection from person to person. So roll up your sleeve—word is this season there will be plenty to go around.
Anyone who wants to reduce the chance of getting the flu should consider getting the flu shot, but if the mere thought of that gives you the heebie jeebies, try the nasal-spray version of the vaccine — FluMist. FluMist can be used in children and adults, ages 2 – 49. This vaccine even provides protection against an additional influenza strain.
Learn more from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tip #2) Wash your hands. Simple soap-and-water hand washing is an easy and effective way to stay healthy this winter (and year-round.) To keep illness at bay, this is especially important to do at fuel stations, restaurants, workplaces, schools, and any other public place. Soap and water is readily available, and washing your hands only takes 20 seconds!
Tip #3) No touchy. Cold and flu germs are easily passed through hand-to-hand contact, so any way you can avoid touching public objects—such as a communal pen at the store—will cut your risk. Having your own supply of pens and other communal-type items might just keep you from picking up a virus.
Tip #4) Keep hand sanitizer with you. When researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston studied 292 families for five months, they found that those who carried hand sanitizers with them had 59% fewer cases of sickness than nonusers.
That’s because—when used correctly— these products nearly eliminate germs. Buy a little bottle to keep in your truck, squirt out enough gel so your hands still feel damp after rubbing them together for 10 to 15 seconds, and voilà! Bye, bye germs.
Tip #5) Take a daily multivitamin. Look for one with 100% of the recommended daily values of vitamins A, B6, B12, C, and D, and the minerals chromium, copper, folic acid, selenium, calcium, and zinc. Take your multi during a meal that contains a bit of fat so you can absorb the nutrients better; a glass of water will help the pill dissolve.
Tip #6) Turn in. Getting enough sleep is the most important thing to do this season. Why? Because any other precautions you take against cold or flu—the right supplements, hand washing, even vaccinations—won’t offer the same protection if your body’s too tired to use them properly. When you get a good night’s sleep, your body produces a higher amount of flu-fighting antibodies. So rest up!
Keep this as your “Winter Stay-Healthy Guide” from Smith Transport to remember what you can do to avoid colds and/or the flu this season.
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