Contagious viruses that spread around from November to April, during cold and flu season, can make many people sick. As temperatures drop during fall and winter, the risk of getting sick increases. It’s particularly important to have a healthy lifestyle during this time of the year to help the immune system fight off the viruses that cause flu and cold. It is equally important to create a prevention routine that can keep these viruses away from you. Since prevention is easier than treatment, we will be focusing on prevention tips today.
Cold and Flu Prevention Tips
Cold and flu come with unpleasant symptoms that can keep you homesick and feeling fatigued. Oftentimes, flu symptoms include runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, fever, fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches. Cold symptoms are usually milder forms of flu symptoms.
Wash Your Hands
It sounds simple but soap and water are your best defense against germs. Respiratory illnesses can be prevented by regular hand washing. So, if you don’t want to get sick, rinse your hands with soap and water to remove germs.
It doesn’t matter if you use cold or hot water as long as you scrub your hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds.
Use Hand Sanitizer
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work when soap and water are not available. The most effective ones are those with an alcohol concentration over 60%. The least effective ones are those that are alcohol-free and those with lower alcohol concentrations.
Since alcohol is a skin irritant and it can dry and damage your skin, it is important to use hand sanitizers only when it’s absolutely necessary. Stick to water and soap for normal situations.
Stop Touching Your Face
Your hands touch everything and they can collect germs and bacteria. When you touch your face or bite your nails, you offer germs a direct route to your nose and mouth and you give them the ability to make you sick. We couldn’t stress it enough – wash your hands as often as possible during cold and flu season to prevent getting sick.
Disinfect High-touch Areas
No matter how good you are about washing your hands, you can still get sick when you get in touch with unsanitized surfaces, such as door handles, gym equipment, remotes, and even your phone. These surfaces are breeding ground for bacteria so, if you can, wipe them down with sanitizer. Or sanitize your hands after touching anything that’s used by many different people.
Wash Clothes in Hot Water
Your clothes can carry and spread flu and other infectious germs. You should wash clothes that come in direct contact with other people, such as outwear and office items, at the highest temperature that is safe for the fabric.
When possible, we recommend disinfecting laundry and other linens for a cleaning boost. For colored clothes, bleach is not an option. However, you can use other disinfectants, including natural ones such as pine oil and white vinegar.
A good night’s sleep is very important during the cold and flu season. Sleeping strengthens the immune system and enables it to fight off the viruses that cause cold and flu. You need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to maintain your health. If you struggle with falling asleep, try a natural sleep remedy like lavender oil. Diffusing lavender oil relaxes you and helps you fall asleep faster.
The best way to keep flu away is to get a flu shot. Those with weakened immune systems should get the vaccine every year since they are more prone to getting sick.
If you prefer a different approach for cold and flu prevention, you can go the natural route and use essential oils. Since the number of people who use essential oils as an alternative or complementary treatment to cold and flu medicine increased during the last few years, research has been conducted to see if essential oils have antiviral properties. Studies found that tea tree oil can protect people against the flu virus. Furthermore, only 5-10 minutes of exposure to tea tree essential oil reduces the chances of getting sick.
You can use essential oils for prevention but also as complementary aids to modern medicine if you are sick. They can fight cold and flu symptoms and help nurture you back to health.
The best essential oils for cold and flu prevention are tea tree essential oil, lemon essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil.
Tea Tree Essential Oil for Cold and Flu Prevention
With its powerful antibacterial and stimulant properties, tea tree essential oil is not only effective in preventing cold and flu, but it can also ease the most common symptoms like sore throat and cough. Tea tree essential oil also helps with respiratory problems by providing nasal congestion relief.
Lemon Essential Oil for Cold and Flu Prevention
Lemon essential oil has antibacterial properties and is great for strengthening the metabolism to prevent and fight cold and flu.
Due to its natural antibacterial and immune-boosting properties, lemon essential oil is commonly used for soothing cold symptoms and easing respiratory problems. Aside from cold and flu relief, lemon essential oil can also increase energy levels by reducing mental fatigue.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The invigorating minty aroma of eucalyptus essential oil is perfect for opening up nasal passages and soothing irritations. Eucalyptus essential oil has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can purify the atmosphere and reduce airborne germs. Moreover, you can diffuse Eucalyptus essential oil to relieve coughs and other cold symptoms.
Boost Your Immune System
While essential oils can provide your metabolism with a fighting chance against flu and cold viruses, it is also important to have a balanced diet that is high in nutrients and vitamins.
Vitamin C and vitamin D3 can help prevent and shorten the duration of flu and cold. Make sure you eat foods that contain high percentages of vitamin C and D3 such as fruits (especially citrus fruits), fish, milk, and foods fortified with these vitamins.