Cough, sniffle, and sneeze.  October isn’t national cold and flu month, but maybe it should be.  Everywhere we go we are surrounded by adults and children that are feeling less than 100%.  Somedays it can feel like we are on set of a Dayquil commercial with all the runny noses and coughing.  We certainly aren’t immune to falling ill, but there are some ways to cut your risk of getting sick or shorten the length of your cold without becoming a hermit all season long.

The exact timing and duration of “cold and flu season” can vary, but it generally runs October to May.  According to the Center for Disease Control, the typical adult can expect to get two or three colds per season.  Besides arming yourself with the flu vaccine and washing your hands as much a possible, here are a few more tips to surviving this year’s cold and flu season.

Get your liquids

Drink your water.  It’s recommended to drink 8 glasses of water daily, so at least try and meet that requirement.  Fluids help to thin out mucus in your body, which is makes it easier to flush germs out of your system.  Keep in mind that coffee doesn’t count toward your water intake.  Yes, there is water in coffee, but it actually dehydrates your body instead of hydrating.  If you’re a serious coffee drinker, consider adding a glass of water for every cup of coffee (same goes for alcohol).

Turn up the humidifier

As the weather turns colder, the air becomes much drier.  Dry air does nothing for your cough and sore throat; in fact, it can make you feel worse.  Add a little moisture to the air with a humidifier to help reduce your symptoms.

Bring on the essential oils

A few drops of eucalyptus oil can make you feel like your airways are opening up.  Try adding a few drops to boiling water and breathe in the aromatic steam or use an aromatherapy diffuser that is specifically made for diffusing essential oils.  Never use essential oils directly on your skin and always read the directions on the bottle.

Zinc it up

Zinc is known to help the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses.  Vitamin C is also a great immune booster.  Visit the pharmacy and look for zinc lozenges that are infused with vitamin C to kick that cold to the curb.

Turn down your workout

Yes, getting your sweat session is great for your body (when you are feeling well), but not when you are sick.  Save your energy to fight off your sickness.  If you’re battling a cold and think moving your body will help your energy level then take a walk to get your circulation moving, but don’t go all out.

Avoid touching your face

Think about how many times a day you touch your face.  It’s a lot, isn’t it?  The eyes, nose and mouth are common entry points for viruses to enter the body.  Be mindful of washing your hands or using alcohol based hand sanitizer before touching your face.

Stay home when you are sick

If we can all try a bit harder at not spreading our illnesses, we will all be much happier and healthier.  Cold and flu viruses can spread fast at offices and schools, so do your best to keep your area clean and sanitized and encourage others to stay home when they are sick.

Lastly, support your own health

People that are healthier tend get to sick less often.  If you eat healthy, get good sleep, manage stress well, and move your body, you are already ahead of the game when it comes to fighting off viruses that come your way.  For more reasons why you should strive for good health (besides the fact that you can save money on life insurance), read our blog on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Photo credit to: Sai Mr.


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