Main image courtesy of United Disabilities Services.
Each year when the weather starts to get colder and people spend more time indoors, we typically see an increase in cases of colds and the flu. While we can’t can’t control what others do this cold and flu season, you can keep you and your family prepared for the possibility of sickness this winter! While no one wants to get sick, there is the chance that you or someone you love will get a case of the coughs or the sniffles this year. Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, we’ve come up with the top 10 ways you can prepare for cold and flu season!
In this article we’re going to cover:
- The difference between a cold vs. the flu
- 10 ways to prepare for cold and flu season
How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Cold and a Flu?
Is there an easy way to determine the difference between colds and flus?
Although colds and flus are both respiratory illnesses, they originate from different viruses. Both types of sicknesses tend to manifest similar symptoms, which can include:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Common colds tend to be milder than the flu, and rarely lead to additional severe infections such as pneumonia—which can cause you to go to the hospital. Although the symptoms of colds can sometimes feel harsh, the flu can make you feel awful. If you have the flu, you’ll typically also experience additional symptoms such as fever/chills, headaches, and body aches. It can be hard to tell the difference between a cold or the flu, but you can always visit your doctor for a test if you think you may have the flu.
No one wants to be sick, and while you cannot 100% guarantee that you or a loved one won’t come down with an illness, there are things you can do to help prevent it this cold and flu season!
10 (Easy) Steps to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season
Don’t be scared, be prepared this cold and flu season
1. Get your medicine cabinet ready
Before the start of cold and flu season, check on the status of your medicine cabinet. Go through it and toss any expired medicine, and replace it with medicine that can help with fever, pain, coughs, and runny/stuffy noses. It’s also helpful to include decongestants and chest rubs in your cabinet. This would also be a good time to make sure you have a thermometer with working batteries, as well as a humidifier.
2. Stock up on helpful supplements
Supplements can go a long way in keeping your immune system healthy. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that can help keep your body strong, but we recommend picking up apple cider vinegar gummies, elderberry, or a total package such as Dr. Emil’s 3 in 1 Immune Support. These supplements are easy to include in your daily routine, and will work to keep you feeling your best.
3. Don’t forget to fill up your pantry
No one wants to make a grocery run (or worry about ordering them) when they’re sick. Think ahead and stock your pantry with easy to make items such as soup, teas, crackers, toast, and maybe even a sports drink with electrolytes to stay hydrated.
4. Hand washing is key
We all know proper hand washing works wonders to keep us clean, so make sure to be extra diligent with this practice during cold and flu season. Use soap and water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. It’s helpful to sing a tune while you do this, try going through the Happy Birthday song twice to keep your hands as germ-free as possible.
5. Limit contact between your hands and face
Once you’ve washed your hands, it’s important to try and limit their contact with your face. Because you touch all kinds of surfaces, you don’t want to spread the germs you may pick up there onto your face, where they could enter through your mouth or nose.
6. Get a flu vaccine
Make sure you and your loved ones get the flu vaccine when it’s offered each year. The vaccine can help prevent the spread of the flu, which is highly contagious, and can even protect you against common strains.
7. Eat right and stay active
In addition to taking supplements to help boost your immune system, it’s important to make sure you eat a healthy diet and keep your body active. Adhering to good eating, exercising, and sleep routines can do a lot to help prevent coming down with the cold or flu.
8. Keep your house clean
Our hands touch a lot of surfaces when we’re out and about, and we can bring those germs home when we touch everyday items such as counters, door knobs, and light switches. Because viruses can live on these surfaces, make sure you keep them clean during cold and flu season. If someone does get sick in your house, it’s important to keep to a regular cleaning schedule on surfaces they touch as well.
9. Limit your contact with sick people
When you know someone is sick, try and limit your contact with them. While this can be hard when it’s someone in your immediate household, this can help prevent further spread of the virus.
10. Plan to stay home when you’re sick
Staying home from work or school is a must when you’re sick. You don’t want to spread the illness to others, plus getting rest at home will help you or a loved one recover faster.
These 10 steps can go a long way in preventing the cold or flu. While there’s no guarantee you won’t get sick, by following these tips, you can definitely reduce your chances!