If cold and flu season is making you anxious — and every tickle in your throat has you on edge — listen up. Here are five ways to help prevent the cold virus from making its way to you.
- Reduce stress: Too much stress suppresses your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to the cold bug. If you're feeling overwhelmed this season, try a few small tactics to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Simple habits like streamlining your morning and making time for friends will help you de-stress; learn more habits to prevent stress here.
- Eat cold-preventing foods: Whether you're fending off the cold or trying to prevent catching it, certain foods will help you stay healthy. Remember to drink lots of fluids like green tea or water, and stick with easily digestible protein or antioxidant-rich produce like citrus fruits. Find out more foods you should eat if you're feeling sick here.
- Exercise: Staying active is one of the best ways you can boost your immune system and feel good, so stick to your workout routine. Just make sure to wipe down the machines at your gym before you use them and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy to help keep germs away from you.
- Sleep more: Lack of sleep leads to stress and a weakened immune system, so make sure you're getting at least seven hours of quality sleep every night. Need help hitting the hay? We've got 20 simple ways to get better sleep tonight.
- Watch your hands: Yes, you should regularly wash your hands, but you should also watch where you're putting them too! The average person touches their face 16 times an hour, and since viruses like the flu can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, touching your face after touching a surface puts you at risk of transmitting viruses to the mucus membranes in your nose, eyes, or mouth.