Say “adios” to coughing and sneezing this winter

A brisk breeze, leaves turning red and a hot pumpkin spice latte.

That is how you know fall is approaching, quickly followed by winter.

However, with all of the caramel apples, cool fall nights and the new collection of styles, there is also the stuffy noses and sneezes. As the cooler weather approaches, so do colds and the flu season.

No one wants to use their “sick days” because they are actually sick this season.  Instead, here are a few ways to keep healthy so you can enjoy the hayrack rides and pumpkin pies.

Wash your hands.

Most viruses during the cold and flu season are spread by direct contact.  For example, you sneeze into your hands, touch the keyboard, shake someone’s hand and open then door.  During all of these actions, you have already spread your germs to three different sources in a matter of minutes.  Always try to remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Do not sneeze or cough into your hands.

By sneezing or coughing into your hands you increase the chances of spreading the germs to your friends, family and co-workers.  Try sneezing into a tissue that you can easily dispose of or sneeze into your shirt or elbow.

Do not tough your face.

The cold virus enters the body through contact with your eyes, nose or mouth.  By avoiding contact with these areas you can reduce your chances of getting a cold.  If you have to rub your eyes make sure to wash your hands before.  Also, before you eat it is not a bad idea to once again make sure your hands are clean before you touch your utensils or food.

Exercise.

Not only is exercise good for you in general, but it also prevents colds or the flu.  The body’s natural process of speeding up the heart, sweating and breathing automatically kills off germs and viruses.

Avoid smoking.

There are little hairs that line the mucous membranes in your nose and lungs.  These delicate hairs sweep cold and flu viruses out of the nasal passages and help prevent illness. However, being around smoke or smoking in general dries out nasal passages and paralyzes the little hairs called cilia. Experts say that one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 minutes if not more.

Avoid excessive drinking and stay hydrated.

Drinking dehydrates the body and gets rid of more fluid than it takes in.  This makes your body more susceptible to colds or the flu. By staying hydrated you are providing your body with the basic tools it needs to function at full capacity.

Rest.

Making sure your body is fully rested is important for many reasons.  You will feel more energetic and be able to do day-to-day activities.  Your body is able to recharge and continue its daily duties. Having a clear and rested mind is also important.  Trying to eliminate stress allows the mind to be healthy which in turn has a great effect on the body.

Stay nourished.

By making sure you have had enough to eat, you are providing your body with more energy.  However, it is not just about eating, it is important to eat the right things.  Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables provides your body with proper nutrition and helps your body fight off viruses.

Clean surfaces.

Whether you are at home, work or at the grocery store, it is not a bad idea to clean off any surface that your hands might touch.  Wipe down the doorknobs, counters, keyboards and even the computer screens.  Many grocery stores provide sanitary wipes so you can clean your hands or the shopping cart before you use it.

Although these tips are very basic, they are often things we forget to do.  Between finishing class and running to work, or running from work to pick up the kids at school, it often seems like there is no time in the day to properly care for oneself.  These are small, but important steps to take to prevent a cold and can be incorporated into our busy lives in very small, but helpful ways.

 

 

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