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5 Ways to Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu this Holiday Season

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

The holiday season is a special time that brings together loved ones, near and far. Nurturing memories, old and new, we want to help you fill this time with a healthy dose of connectedness while staving off some unwelcome guests with holiday gatherings and travel: cold and flu. 

Keep your holidays merry and bright with these simple tips to prevent getting sick during your holiday journey.

1. Make Hand Hygiene a Priority

Cold germs can last on surfaces for up to seven days. The flu virus has a shorter lifespan on surfaces but can still last for 24 hours on indoor surfaces. With viruses sticking around for so long, it’s important to make sure your hands stay germ-free.

  • Use a hand sanitizer with at least 50 percent alcohol when soap and water isn’t handy
  • Use hand sanitizer after touching “high traffic” areas such as ATMs, door handles or plane armrests
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing food or eating, and after using the restroom

2. Eat Healthy

We often forgo healthy eating habits when our calendars get busy and are full of lively holiday parties. Eating healthy, however, can help boost your immune system. Add these cold and flu-fighting foods to your meals and snacks:

  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Kiwi
  • Lean protein
  • Red bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Wild salmon and other cold water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Yogurt

3. Sleep Well

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep to rest and recharge. All the shut-eye isn’t just to feel rested and awake during the day. Our bodies make more immune cells when we’re asleep than when we’re awake. These cells help fight off viruses like the cold and flu. Skipping a regular bedtime in favor of crossing items off your to-do list can make it easier to pick up a virus.

4. Make Time for Yourself

Wellness is much more than your physical health. Take time for yourself to focus on your whole health in body, mind and spirit. Sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays by:

  • Catching up with a family member or friend
  • Dedicating a regular time and place for meditating
  • Going for a walk
  • Reading a book
  • Watching a favorite TV show or movie
  • Connecting with your faith

5. Stay Active

Physical activity can release endorphins, which can help manage stress and relieve some of its symptoms, including inflammation and irritability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get at least 150 active minutes every week. That can be spread out throughout the week in as little as 10-minute increments. Try to work in a little extra physical activity each day to help your immune system fight off germs and viruses. These ideas can help you increase your physical activity and enjoy the spirit of the season:

  • Go for a brisk walk or run
  • Go for a holiday light walk at night with family
  • Sign up for a new exercise class with a buddy
  • Walk a couple extra laps around the mall when out shopping

Remember What’s Important

We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and it can be easy to let your own health take a backseat. Commit to keeping yourself feeling whole, so you can enjoy every minute with friends and families. Taking care of yourself means you will be better able take care of others and enjoy this special time of year.

Give Yourself the Gift of Health

Have a holiday health plan. Stay on top of your whole health with a routine check-up and up-to-date vaccinations by calling (844) Doc-2DAY. If cold or flu does take hold, get to one of our skilled medical providers. Add your nearest Florida Hospital Express Care at Walgreens Clinic location to your phone contacts to be ready to get the care that will get you back into the holiday spirit.