10 Tips to Get You Through Cold and Flu Season
It’s that time of year when everyone starts getting sick and passing around cold and flu germs. If you have a chronic illness, it means that your immune system is already compromised — which makes picking up other people’s winter illnesses harder to avoid. But you don’t have to lock yourself away until spring, just heed some basic advice about how to keep nasty germs at bay.
1. Get a Flu Shot
This is the most important, and one of the easiest things you can do to avoid getting the flu.
2. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol interferes with your sleep. You’ll sleep less and the sleep you get will be poor. You are more likely to fall prey to colds and flu if you’re tired.
3. Drink Tea with Lemon and Honey
Ditch the milk and sugar and add honey and lemon to your cup of tea instead. Steam from tea stimulates the tiny hair follicles in your nose to help flush out germs. Honey (particularly manuka honey) is antibacterial, while lemons are high in vitamin C and help thin mucus.
4. Sanitize Your Workspace
Keeping your workspace as clean as possible will help keep germs away. Use disinfectant to deep clean anything that people handle a lot: elevator buttons, chair armrests, microwaves, fridges, remote controls, photocopier machine buttons, door handles, shared computer keyboards, and more.
5. Use Your Own Pens
Keep your own pens with you at all times so you won’t need to use shared or borrowed pens at the bank, doctor’s office, office reception desk, or anywhere else.
6. Stop Biting Your Nails
Unless you can guarantee that your nails are completely germ-free (which is unlikely no matter how much you wash your hands) then biting your nails is a sure-fire way for cold and flu germs to enter your body.
Living with MS might be so stressful, you may want to bite your nails! Read our columnist Debi Wilson’s article and learn how you can “Stress Less For Your MS”.
7. Wash Your Hands — A Lot!
The more you wash your hands, the less likely they are to harbor cold and flu germs. Aside from washing your hands after going to the bathroom, or before eating, you should also wash them after touching anything that other people have touched. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer gel around with you just in case there are no washrooms.
8. Sweat More!
Work out at the gym, go for a run, or simply take a sauna — anything that makes you sweat. Sweating helps the body release toxins.
9. Look Out For Symptoms
If you have a chronic disease, getting the flu is much more serious than the average person. Even a common cold or cough will affect you worse than others. Be aware of early symptoms (sneezing, sore throat, aching muscles, headaches, slight fever) and act on them as soon as possible to minimize the effects. You can get more advice from your doctor.
10. Be as Healthy as Possible
Eat well, sleep well, avoid stress as much as possible, and get plenty of exercise. Taking supplements such as vitamins C and D can help keep colds and flu away. The healthier you are in the first place, the less likely you are to catch winter colds and flu. If you do catch them, you’ll be able to recover quicker.
Living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important. But did you know that your lifestyle choices may be interfering and worsening with your MS?
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