There’s nothing worse than feeling like everyone around you is getting sick and that you are bound to be the next victim of cold or flu viruses. If your goal is to stay healthy this season (and not catch the flu!), avoid making these 8 common mistakes.
1. Not getting your flu shot.
Getting the flu shot is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent getting the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people ages 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. If you haven’t been vaccinated this season, do so right away. If you are still feeling unsure about it, check out some frequently asked questions about the flu shot.
2. Not washing your hands enough.
You’ve probably been taught the importance of washing your hands ever since you were a little kid. However, during cold and flu season, washing your hands well and washing them often is especially important to reduce the risk of illness. We can be exposed to cold and flu germs almost everywhere we go. These germs can live on the door handle to your office, the shopping cart at the grocery store or even a salt or pepper shaker.
Give your hands a good scrub more often than you may think is necessary. Keeping an alcohol-based hand sanitizer close by is a good alternative for the times you can’t get to a sink to wash up with soap and water. If you need even more convincing why good hand hygiene is so important, read our blog.
3. Not sleeping enough.
Most experts would agree that getting a good night’s sleep has many health benefits. Getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night has shown to make a person more resistant to viruses. (It also doesn’t hurt that you are bound to feel so much better when you wake up after a great night’s sleep!)
4. Not staying active.
When you get busy, exercise tends to be one of the first things you cut from your schedule. During cold and flu season, you may want to think twice about cutting the exercise because a regular exercise routine can help you stay healthy. Aside from reducing your stress levels, staying physically active can help accelerate the circulation of white blood cells, which helps to fight the common cold.
5. Not disinfecting.
Keep your surroundings as clean as possible. A lot of us spend most of our time either at work or at home, so it can be as simple as taking a few extra minutes to routinely disinfect those spaces. When you have a spare couple minutes at work, wipe down your desk, keyboard, computer mouse, phone and anything else you frequently touch throughout the day. When you get home, take a couple of minutes to clean commonly touched areas like countertops, light switches and doorknobs. If someone around you has been sick, it is even more important to disinfect often.
6. Too much sharing.
Avoid close contact with sick people and try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes.
To avoid the spread of germs, prevent sharing towels, utensils, drinking glasses or other personal items. It’s also important that all these items are properly washed in hot, soapy water before the next person uses them.
7. Not eating well.
Eating a balanced diet rich in natural vitamins and minerals helps contribute to a healthy immune system - which helps keep you from getting sick. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve had some green, leafy vegetables, it may be time to add some back into your diet. A tip to ensure you’re getting a healthy amount of vitamins in your diet is to try cooking with lots of colors which typically translates to those veggies and fruits!
8. Stressing too much.
Chronic stress can make your immune system less effective. Cortisol (sometimes called the stress hormone) can help your body fight inflammation and disease. When someone is chronically stressed, they are releasing this hormone more often than is normal which lessens its effectiveness. Take some time to decompress or do things that reduce your stress levels – it’s beneficial for your health.