The start of the school year means summer is coming to an end and the cooler fall and winter months are on their way. Unfortunately, it also means that cold and flu season is just around the corner. Whether it is the sniffles and congestion of the common cold or influenza virus that has you down, or the fever, aches, and upset stomach of the stomach flu, even with individual health insurance it can be difficult to get a doctor’s appointment during this time of year.
These tips can help you to stay healthy and avoid trips to the doctor’s office during the months when colds and the flu are most prevalent.
Wash Your Hands Often
Whether you are pushing a grocery cart, touching money, or turning a doorknob, germs are everywhere, and inevitably, you come into contact with them all throughout the course of your day.
Washing your hands with soap and water can help you to sanitize them after coming into contact with a germy surface and prevent you from catching a cold or flu virus. Hand sanitizers are a great on-the-go method for keeping your hands clean and free of germs.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Often, people catch viruses, such as colds and the flu, by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In addition to keeping your hands clean, it is also a good idea to try and avoid touching your face, especially during the times of the year when the flu and colds are most common.
Get Plenty of Sleep
With work, school, family, and other things all vying for your time, it can be easy not to get enough sleep. Getting plenty of sleep is crucial to maintaining your overall health and is even more important when your immune system is fighting off an illness.
Eat Right and Exercise
Maintaining a good diet and getting regular exercise will help you to maintain your overall health. A well-balanced diet helps keep your body strong and working properly, which can help you to fight off a virus if you happen to come into contact with one.
Exercising or some other type of regular physical activity can also help to keep your body in top working order, which can help you to stay healthy during cold and flu season.
Taking Vitamins C and D can help give your immune system a needed boost during cold and flu season. Those who have individual health insurance plans, as well as those who do not, may also consider getting a flu shot. Available through primary care physicians and other healthcare providers, the flu shot is an immunization that can help prevent you from contracting most strains of the influenza virus.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated can help to keep your immune system working properly. By drinking lots of water, you can help your body to function at an optimum level and flush out any toxins that may be in your body.
Get Plenty of Fresh Air
Cold and flu season tends to be during the cooler months of the year. Cold weather often comes hand in hand with much more time spent inside, with doors and windows shut and heaters on. It is easy for the air in your home to become stagnant when everything is all closed up. Getting some fresh air can give your lungs and body a break from germs that may get trapped in your home.
As careful as you may try to be, there is no way to know if others are taking care to avoid spreading germs that could cause cold and flu viruses. Regularly sanitizing surfaces in your home and office can help you to avoid coming into contact with something that is hosting a virus. If a family member or coworker has been ill recently, it may be a good idea to sanitize more frequently.
Even using these tips and taking preventative measures, you may come into contact with a cold or flu virus at some point this season. If you get sick, don’t fret, in most cases, colds and flu bugs only last for about a week or two. Continuing to practice these tips can help you to avoid spreading your virus to others.
Should an illness persist, or if the person who is sick is elderly or very young, it may be a good idea to check in with a doctor.