4 Quick Tips to Stay Healthy Through Cold and Flu Season
As the temperature drops, so do our immune systems. It’s getting cold outside, which means it’s cold and flu season once again. Staying healthy has never been more important. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are four tips for staying healthy through cold and flu season to prevent those annual sicknesses from hitting your family household.
Load Up on Vegetables and Fruits
Eating a healthy diet is essential for staying healthy throughout cold and flu season. Vegetables and fruits contain the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to fight infections. Some great choices are citrus fruits and berries, dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. These foods are also high in antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system. It’s no coincidence that many of these foods are harvestable during the cold and flu seasons. Nature knows what our bodies need and provides it, so eat up!
Because I have some picky eaters at home, I’ve found a new way to get my kids to try new fruits and veggies. I include my kiddos in shopping, washing, and prepping fruits and vegetables. Does it guarantee they will eat vegetable at dinner? No, but they are more likely to sample the produce as we prepare it for a meal. Which, to me is a win.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs all year round, but especially during cold and flu season. Use soap and warm water, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Just remember to sing the ABC song twice if you or your kids have trouble keeping track of those 20 seconds.
Also, avoid touching your face with your hands, as doing so can spread germs from your hands to your mucus membranes, where they can quickly set up shop. My boys are slowly learning to keep their hands out of their mouths and away from their noses. Sanitizing surfaces heavily trafficked areas can also help keep germs at bay.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system for all ages. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are more susceptible to infections like colds and the flu. So, try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Kids of different ages also need plenty of sleep. Toddlers need 11-14 hours, and kids three to five years old need 10-13 hours. Elementary-aged kids between 6 and 12 need 9-12 hours of sleep, and teenagers need 8-10.
I feel like garbage the next day whenever I sleep less than seven hours. I am embarrassed that I didn’t prioritize sleep until recently. Mostly because I couldn’t get all the things done in a day that needed to be done. But also, the boys were waking up in the middle of the night, and I cared for them. Now that they sleep through the night, getting a good night’s sleep has been much easier. At night, when I don’t get at least seven hours of sleep, I make sure to take a nap during the day to get more rest.
Sew Your Face Masks
We are all familiar with face masks after the pandemic. And while I don’t wear mine as often as I used to, I still wear it under two circumstances. When I am flying on a plane and feel like I am coming down with something but don’t feel sick. A face mask is an effective way to prevent the spread of germs, and many worldwide wear them during cold and flu season.
Why not try sewing your masks if you want an eco-friendly and affordable option? You can find resources for sewing masks online or at your local sewing store. Many of these resources use old t-shirts or bed sheets for masks, so you don’t have to buy lots of fabric. Making them yourself instead of buying mass-produced ones is also better for the environment.
These four tips for staying healthy through cold and flu season aren’t foolproof but can help you maintain a healthy household. Proper hydration and regular exercise can also help your immune system work at its best to help you stay healthy.