Averting Colds and Flu: 9 Things to Do Now for a Healthy New Year

From getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, and washing your hands regularly – here are nine tips from our Pharmacist that will help you stay healthy this season.

The days are getting shorter, the cold weather is setting in, and many people already feel under the weather. These three factors combine for a perfect storm of health consequences: colds and flu. However, there is no need to succumb to these consequences! There are plenty of things you can do now that will help keep your immune system strong—and ward off the winter illness blues. In this blog post, we want to share nine tips to help you get healthy for your New Year's resolution!

1. Get a flu shot.

One of the things you can do to avoid getting sick is to get a flu shot. They're very effective, especially if you plan and get them before the flu season starts. If you're looking for an excellent place to get them, your local pharmacy or doctor's office would be a great option.

In addition, they have been shown in studies to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes when given at least two weeks before exposure by 50%. Getting your flu shot can also help prevent pneumonia - one of the most deadly complications from influenza.

Child getting a flu shot

2. Make sure you have plenty of Vitamin C in your diet.

Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients for your immune system. It can help bolster your body's defenses against infection and allow you to recover more quickly when you get sick.

Studies have shown that people who take Vitamin C supplements are less likely to catch colds than those who don't, even if they're exposed to the same germs. Foods that contain a large amount of Vitamin C include oranges and orange juice, grapefruits and grapefruit juice, lemons and lemonade, and green peppers.

Oranges, grapefruit, and limes

3. Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated is key to keeping your immune system working correctly. Drink water and other non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. An easy way to drink water throughout the day is to keep a water bottle with you and refill it every time you finish your current one.

Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages such as soda or coffee, and sugary drinks like fruit punch. These will dehydrate you instead of hydrating you!
Also, be sure that you're getting enough fluids when it's cold outside; the need for extra fluid intake can increase during this time because of increased perspiration from the number of additional layers it takes to keep warm.

Woman drinking water

4. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water is the best way to get rid of germs. It would help if you did it frequently, primarily after you use or touch something like a door handle, shared supplies (like pens and pencils), tissues, computer keyboards, shopping carts, public telephones, etc.

You can also carry hand sanitizer around with you in case washing your hands isn't possible at that time; these are great for when soap and water aren't available or convenient! You can get your hand sanitizer compounded at the pharmacy here!

Man washing his hands

5. Keep surfaces clean by using disinfectant wipes or sprays regularly.

Keeping surfaces clean helps to prevent the spread of germs. Again, this is particularly important if you work in a school or other environment with lots of surfaces and shared supplies (like pens and pencils).

Keeping your home clean will also help keep it germ-free: wipe down doorknobs, handles, switch plates, and light switches; sweep or mop floors; vacuum rugs and carpets; launder bedding weekly on hot settings (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit); use disinfectant sprays around toilets before flushing them after someone has used them.

Cleaning a work surface

6. Stay active.

Staying active is pivotal in averting colds and the flu because exercise helps boost the immune system.

Physically active people have higher levels of antibodies in their blood than those who aren't, thus creating an environment where viruses cannot infect them as easily.

Even if you can only fit in a 20-minute workout at home or work daily, it will help keep your body strong and resilient to fight off infections.

This is especially true for people with chronic conditions like asthma. A recent study found that these patients had fewer respiratory tract infections when they increased their activity level by 45 minutes per day over six months compared to those whose physical activities remained unchanged during that time frame.

Woman going on a hike

7. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep is essential in living a happy and healthy lifestyle. In addition to helping you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day, it will also help strengthen your immune system. Numerous studies have demonstrated that people who get insufficient sleep are more likely to catch a cold or the flu than those who clock in at least seven hours of shut-eye per night.

This is especially true if you often travel. Being exposed to different environments can increase your chances of getting sick due to compromised immunity from stress or lack of restful slumber. No matter where you happen to be going this winter, remember that getting enough sleep should always come first before other activities such as partying into the wee hours (which should only occur on rare occasions).

Pug trying to sleep

8. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth.

Touching your nose, eyes, or mouth is a quick way to infect yourself with viruses or bacteria.

Don't forget that your hands can become contaminated through everyday activities such as touching shared household items, shaking hands, and using the bathroom for both number one and two purposes. Having clean hands is equally crucial since it will reduce your risk of getting sick by not only preventing you from spreading germs but also reducing the number of toxins that enter your body via unhygienic practices such as picking up food without washing your hands first.

Man touching face

9. Smile more!

Smiling has been seen to help boost your body's immune system. a WebMD study states that laughter, which often starts with a smile, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which improves your resistance to illness.

When trying to avert a cold or flu this holiday season, remember to smile more and laugh as often as you can!

Baby Smiling

Conclusion

There are several ways to protect yourself from catching colds and the flu. The best way is to get vaccinated, but there are other things you can do as well.

Keep your surfaces clean with disinfectant wipes or sprays; make sure you drink enough fluids; avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth; wash hands often with soap and water; stay active by getting plenty of sleep and staying physically active on top of that (get outside for walks if possible), and don't forget to smile more!

Lastly, visit Bayview Pharmacy in Rhode Island for all your Cold and Flu needs. We have many products available, including over-the-counter medicines like cough syrups, decongestants, and so much more.

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