Now that it’s November, the days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder and our calendars are starting to fill up with holiday plans and parties. It’s also the time of year for our two least favourite visitors to start arriving—no, not Aunt Edna and Uncle Steve—we’re talking about cold and flu.
Cold and flu season in Canada tends to arrive at some point in November and stick around until as late as March of the following year. While some sniffles during this period may be unavoidable, particularly if you have young children at home, there are a number of things you can do to safeguard yourself from getting sick.
Here’s a look at six tried-and-true steps to help you prep for cold and flu season:
- Take a hands-on approach. Your hands can build, comfort, carry and help you express yourself. Unfortunately, they can also make you sick by transmitting cold and flu germs. Regular hand washing can help stop the spread of germs, and keeping your hands away from your face can prevent cold viruses from entering your system through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Support your immune system. A healthy immune system is better prepared to fight off illnesses through your body’s natural defense systems. You can support your immune system with a nutrient-rich diet and by taking a good quality vitamin C, such as SISU Ester-C® Supreme.
- Keep it clean. Cold and flu viruses can survive outside the body, particularly on hard surfaces such as metal, plastic and wood. Maintaining a clean environment by regularly disinfecting household surfaces reduces the risk of infection. Don’t stop at the table and countertops—make sure to clean your keyboards, computer mouse, tablets and phones as well.
- Sleep tight. With the holidays approaching, this can be a hectic time of year, but it’s important not to let your sleep patterns suffer. When you become tired and run down, your immune system can weaken, leaving you more susceptible to illness. Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night as part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Keep your germs to yourself. Sharing is caring, except when it comes to germs. If you get sick, stay home from work or school and minimize your interactions with others. Cough or sneeze into a tissue if you have one, or into your elbow if you don’t. Wash your hands often. Avoid sharing utensils, beverages and other items that may unwittingly pass your germs on to others.
- Be prepared. Even with the best of intentions and preventions, sometimes, sick happens. Instead of letting colds and flus catch you off guard, plan to beat them at their own game. Consider getting a flu shot; stock your kitchen with healthy, easy-to-prepare foods; keep a supply of tissues and lozenges on hand; start taking SISU Cold & Flu Rescue with Ester-C® at the first sign of symptoms; know how many sick days you have left at work; and if you have school-aged children, arrange for a friend or neighbour to take them to and from school in your absence.