Avoiding Colds and the Flu This Winter

We’ve all had the feeling–the sudden sore throat, runny nose and chills. No one 005559-MedCentArlington_1_11_Photowants to be sick! Cold and flu viruses linger everywhere in January–on airplanes  and in shopping malls, as well as in your child’s school and your office. It can be hard to protect yourself against germs. But there are ways to boost your immune system and avoid that co-worker with the hacking cough. Here are some tips to prevent illness from zapping your holiday fun.

Wash those hands

It’s common sense, but doctors say you should wash your hands often throughout the day. Anytime you shake someone’s hand, make sure you wash up afterwards. Also scrub your hands with soap and water before meals. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a good substitute if you can’t get to a bathroom.

Don’t touch your face

This is related to those germs on your hands. Touching your nose, rubbing your eyes or running your hand over your face allows germs to go right to the source of your sinuses. Also, now is the time to stop biting your nails to avoid ingesting germs.

Eat well

Build up your immune system by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens are an excellent source for vitamins and nutrients crucial to maintaining a healthy body.

Sleep well

It’s important to get enough rest so that your body has a chance to recoup and replenish. If you are sick, getting sleep is even more important. Doctors suggest 7-8 hours a night for adults and up to 10 hours if you are ill.

Hit the gym

Exercise helps you sleep better, reduces stress and increases blood flow: all important components to staying well.

Get a flu shot

Unless you have a medical reason that won’t allow you to get the shot, health experts recommend everyone vaccinate against the flu. Protecting yourself also helps prevent the spread of the virus.

Just say “no”

Stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing. Those are two of the easiest ways to transmit germs. If friends or family are ill, wait until they are well before visiting.

Watch your purse

Your purse picks up tons of germs during the day–in the bathroom stall at the mall, sitting under the desk at work and stuffed under the seat on the airplane. Wipe it down before you put it on the kitchen counter.

Sometimes getting a cold is unavoidable. If you do get sick, take this advice to feel better faster:

  • Get your rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system.
  • Use tissues only once to avoid furthering the cold.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow the way school children do to avoid spreading germs.
  • Vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D can all help boost your immune system.
  • If your symptoms rapidly get worse, or you develop a high fever, head to the doctor.

At Medical Center Arlington, we’re dedicated to helping you stay well this holiday. Contact us

online for women’s health, pediatric care, sports medicine and other specialty health care.




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