It’s coming, whether we like it or not. The drop in temperature outside gives rise to the nasty little bugs that cause colds and flus. So how do you best protect yourself and, if you do catch anything, how do you decrease the chances of spreading your sickness, and recover quickly? We’ve summarized some great tips for you.
Protect yourself against colds and flus
- Wash your hands often. Washing hands is always important, but pay special attention this time of year. Washing your hands with soap and water, for at least 15 to 30 seconds, helps kills the virus or bacteria that can make you sick.
- Get your daily intake of vitamins. Vitamin E is important to help protect you from the flu. Keep your immune system strong with other vitamins like A, C, B-complex, and antioxidants.
- Get a flu shot. If you believe in vaccinations, the flu shot can be a great preventative measure for the flu season. Flu vaccine clinics began October 26 and run until November 28.
- Reduce stress. Less stress improves the immune system. Meditate, take a bath, listen to music or get a massage: which ever way you like to de-stress, do it!
- Dry-brush daily. Dry skin brushing is popularly credited with increasing immunity by increasing lymphatic flow and detoxification, and our own in-house experiments are showing good results with it. Read our dry-brushing post at http://ottawamassageblog.com/2013/09/12/a-dry-brush-a-day/
So you’ve got the flu. What now?
- Drink up. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated and to get mucous moving. Taking fluids is also a good way to get some nutrients when the flu may have decreased your appetite. Try lemon water, broth, or electrolyte drinks.
- Suppress a dry cough. These unproductive coughs can keep you (and others!) up at night, which takes away from much needed recovery sleep. Add honey to warm water for a natural cough suppressant.
- Encourage a productive cough. If you’re coughing up mucous, get it out!
- Stay home and rest. Not only will you be exhausted when sick, but it is important not to spread your cold or flu with others. Reschedule appointments and call in to work sick. Your focus should be on recovery, and others should understand.
You are most contagious when symptoms are at their worst! This means roughly 2 to 4 days into a cold, and up to a week into a flu. Children can still be contagious for 2 weeks after the flu, even when symptoms get better.