Now that the cold season is around the corner, it is essential that you start thinking about ways that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from colds and flu. A cold is a mild manifestation of a flu. Also known as influenza, a flu is a respiratory disease that one suffers from if he or she has contracted the influenza virus.
Although the disease is not chronic, it is highly contagious and has symptoms that are quite uncomfortable. The condition usually lasts from three to seven days before you heal. The following are six things you can do now to prepare for the cold & flu season.
1. Get a flu vaccine shot
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a disease is by getting a vaccination against the disease. The injection helps the body to acquire the immunity it needs to defeat the virus when you’re infected. A flu shot vaccine is available in most local clinics and pharmacies.
Although the flu vaccine does not protect the patients 100 percent, the CDC states that it helps in reducing the risk of catching influenza by between 40 to 60 percent.
2. Take vitamin D
Vitamin D is available in some of the foods you consume as well as naturally from the sunlight. You, therefore, can get the vitamin by consuming the foods rich in it, which are mainly colorful fruits and vegetables. It can also be found in whole grains and garlic.
During the cold season, people seldom go out because there is little sunshine. As such, the body stops to absorb the vitamin D that it gets from the sun. Considering that most of the foods that have vitamin D contain it in tiny amounts, your daily intake of the vitamin is likely to fall drastically during the cold season. Without sufficient sunlight, you won’t be able to produce the vitamin biologically. This is because humans can only manufacture vitamin D using ultraviolet rays. Instead, you can buy vitamin D supplements from your local clinics. Vitamin D is good at strengthening the immune system and boosting the absorption of calcium.
3. Wash your hands often and maintain hygiene
Flu is highly contagious; it can be quickly passed from one person to another. It is vital, therefore, to make sure that you stay healthy by cleaning your hands often to get rid of any germs and viruses that you could have been exposed to.
According to the CDC, you should wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds to effectively eliminate germs.
4. Stock cleaning and disinfecting supplies
To better protect yourself and your family, it is important to make sure that you wipe your door handles, counter tops, and other common areas regularly. Be sure to use a disinfectant while wiping the contact areas. This ensures that you clean any contamination on the areas.
Ensuring that you disinfect high contact areas such as doorknobs can help to protect your family against infection from other people that touch your door knobs such as neighbors and delivery personnel.
5. Restock your medicine cabinet
Making sure that your medicine cabinet is stocked with medication is one of the best ways to protect yourself in case you develop some illness. Although most over the counter medicine cannot treat flu, the stock in cabinets can help to relieve symptoms before you visit a doctor. It is vital for you to have cough drops, painkillers, and decongestions in your cabinet.
6. Try to avoid crowds
The most common way of contracting a flu infection is from other people. It is important to avoid close contact with people because during the initial stage, people do not display symptoms. Avoid being in crowded places because there is a high probability of the virus being spread through the air.
If you can take the precautions above, you will significantly reduce the chances of catching the flu. This will save you a lot of time and the money you could have spent to treat the flu. It will also save you the agony associated with the condition.