Tips and Hacks on How You and Your Family can Use to Help Prevent Getting Sick this Year
Story by: Nalani Nuylan
So it’s that time of year again. Sure we love Halloween candy and the pumpkin spice lattes, but we can confidently say we hate cold/flu/allergy season. It’s never fun: the runny nose, sore throat, fevers, and in worst-case scenarios, the vomiting. So how can we stay safe from evil bacteria and viruses? Here are some helpful life hacks and tips you can use to prevent getting sick.
Know the warning signs:
Before we go and find remedies to cure us, we first need to know what exactly you are fighting. According to the National Institutes of Health colds, flu and allergies affect your respiratory system, making it harder to breathe. However, each has its own symptoms to look out for:
- Flu: look for fatigue, aches and pains and a high fever that lasts for several days.
- Colds: sore throats, runny nose and cough, but no fever.
- Allergies: your eyes will become itchy and watery. Please note that allergies are different because your body is reacting to a trigger rather than fighting a virus.
Wash your hands:
Now that we know what you look for, washing your hands is one of the first things you need to bo. This small act does wonders. If you wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with warm water and soap, the amount of damage to your health will notably decrease. Just sign the ABCs with warm water when washing then you’re done, that’s all you need to do.
Clean, Clean, Clean:
It goes without saying but in addition to the time you spend time washing your hands, you should also spend time cleaning the surfaces your hands touch. Disinfecting doorknobs, refrigerator handles, keyboards, steering wheel and your phone regularly can go a long way. Leaving you and your loved ones free from another day of catching a cold.
Cover your cough and sneeze:
This is a pet peeve to most, especially yours truly. Cough and sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose. For extra protection, sneeze and cough away from other people and food, preferably the ground with your back towards the crowd. BBC’s Science Focus Magazine estimates your sneeze alone travels 25 feet away from your runny nose. That is a lot of surface area and a lot of people to infect. We don’t want what you have, so keep it to yourself.
Get some Zzz’s:
Fun fact whenever your body sleeps, it heals itself. The same can be said for when you’re sick. Sleep and let your body use the valuable energy you would use for walking to fight the bacteria instead.
Load up on fluids:
The more you pee, the better you’ll be. Jokes aside, according to WebMD.com, liquids keep your respiratory system hydrated and filters out the viruses out of your body. Water is good, but all liquids help in this case: orange juice, chicken broth, hot tea with honey, to name a few.
Even though rest is important, breaking a sweat can strengthen your immune system. According to Health.com, a low impact/low energy exercise routine such as walking or yoga, “[takes] 25% to 50% less time off from work during cold and flu season compared with couch potatoes.” Meaning if you want to be sick for only two days instead of four, go outside and take a walk.
Take a steamy shower:
The steam from the shower can help with congestion and cough. The shower opens up our pores in your skin, enabling you to breathe better. When it comes to your health, there is no such thing as too many washes. Plus, studies conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York have shown that viruses survive better in dry air rather than humid/steamy air.
Eat the Super Soup:
There is a reason that Chicken soup is what your mom gave you whenever you were sick. Not only is it comfort food, but it provides your body the nutrition it needs. The warm broth will not only keep you hydrated but also soothe your sore throat. The carrots, onion, and celery are rich in vitamins A and C. The chicken and noodles provide a source of protein and carbs to keep you full.
Of course, these are just hacks you can do at home to help yourself out. If you need antibiotics or medication, please go to your doctor for help. If your doctor recommends getting a flu shot, CVS and Walgreens offers them for free. If you want to learn more hacks check out Leander ISD’s recommendations, National Health Institutes warning signs, WebMD.com’s tips, and Health.com’s gallery.