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5 ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season
With fall here and seasons beginning to change, cold and flu season is upon us. Stay healthy with these 5 pro tips. - photo by Sage Singleton
With fall here already and temperatures beginning to change, cold and flu season is upon us and just about everyone is vulnerable. Kids are going back to school where theyll be exposed to germs, and a co-worker with a sore throat can ignite an officewide flu pandemic. Follow these tips for staying healthy, avoiding the sniffles and taking care of yourself if youre under the weather.

1. Increase your protein and probiotic intake

While you always want to maintain a healthy diet, pay special attention to what you eat and drink during cold and flu season. As protein is part of your body's defenses, too little of it can deplete your immune system. Fish and eggs are excellent sources of protein. If youre vegan, go for nuts and legumes. Yogurt also has protein and improves your gut health due to its probiotics. Probiotics improve your immune system and help protect from foreign invaders like cold and flu bacteria.

2. Sweat it out

Regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy. You'll feel more energetic and keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should complete moderate-level exercises for 150 minutes per week or complete more-intense exercises for at least 75 minutes. Children under the age of 18 should aim for 60 minutes of daily exercise.

3. Treat your hands with care

It may sound obvious, but wash your hands frequently. Anytime you touch something in public spaces, like a door handle, elevator button, office microwave, or subway pole, wash your hands after for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If you dont have soap, you can use hand sanitizer with alcohol. Along with cleaning your hands frequently, avoid touching your face. If your hands are dirty, the bacteria can quickly invade your body if you transfer it to your mouth, nose, lips, or eyes.

4. Get fresh air

Fresh air is so important for boosting your immune system. If youre feeling sick, take a stroll around your neighborhood. This activity can double as exercise, so you dont wear yourself out doing something more strenuous. To avoid getting sick, move your workout from the gym to the outdoors with a run around the park. When youre home, open the windows to increase air movement so you dont sleep in a stuffy room where bacteria and viruses can thrive.

5. Sleep

Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body to stay healthy and to help you heal if you get sick. When youre asleep, your brain and body can recover from the day and prepare for the next. Weve all heard the eight-hour recommendation, but adults with high-stress jobs or children may benefit from more sleep. Get a solid nights sleep each night during cold and flu season to help your immune system stay strong. If youre sick, sleep more often than you normally would to help your body recover faster.

Following these tips can help you stay healthy and recover faster if you do fall ill. Your doctor is also a great resource for advice. Just make sure you find one you feel comfortable with.

To ensure you get appropriate care, research doctors in your area or ask for referrals and recommendations. And remember, while doctors are the experts when it comes to medical knowledge, you know your body best. If you dont feel well, visit the doctor and take the appropriate steps to stay healthy.
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