Colder weather will soon be here, which marks the arrival of cold and flu season. While it’s possible to catch these year ‘round, we are more susceptible during the colder season. Here are some preventative measures you can take so you don’t find yourself sneezing in the waiting room of your doctor’s office.

  1. Stay active. Exercising for at least 45 minutes a day five days a week can help reduce your chances of developing a cold by a third. You don’t have to participate in anything too strenuous, as walking will help.
  2. Eat healthy and get plenty of rest. The importance of eating the right foods for your body isn’t just some meaningless lecture we received as kids from our parents. A healthy diet, along with adequate rest of at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, helps our immune system stay strong and be able to fight infection.
  3. Wash your hands. Warm water and a good amount of soap is what you’ll need. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds and don’t forget to clean under your nails, between your fingers, and your wrists. We come in contact with a lot of germs daily, so wash your hands throughout the day, especially before eating.
  4. Don’t touch your face during the day. It’s so easy for us to rub our eyes, cover our mouths, and rub our noses throughout the day. If our hands are dirty, however, this could potentially make us sick if we have cold virus particles on our hands coming in contact with our nose and eyes.
  5. If you have kids, implement these steps with them also. Teach them the importance of having good hygiene and make sure they follow through with their cleaning routine. Make sure they know to always sneeze and cough into a tissue and to wash their hands throughout their day.
  6. Visit a local healthcare provider and get the flu shot. This may not be for everyone. However, getting the flu shot is an effective way of preventing the flu. The best time to receive this vaccine is October through November, although you can receive it later in the flu season. You will have to get the vaccine every year, as flu viruses are always changing and new vaccines are created to fight each strain.
  7. Keep your home clean. Use disinfectant sprays and wipes, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Refrain from using rags and sponges, as they have the ability to store germs. If you’re fond of using sponges, however, change them once a week or soak them in bleach for no less than 15 minutes.
  8. Stay safe at work. If you own your own business or help run one, hold meetings in rooms that have plenty of ventilation. If an employee or co-worker is sick, keep your distance. If you share an office or space with another co-worker who is sick, keep antibacterial wipes and a disinfectant spray at your desk. Clean before using your desk and your chair.