Cold and flu season is almost here — be sure to read how to prevent these sicknesses this winter, and, if you do get them, how to prevent them! Cold and flu season is quickly approaching, and we’ve already seen it start in our family! Jack was pretty much born with a cold, and I feel like he gets one more often than anyone else. Because of that, I have just been waiting on pins and needles for his first cold of the season to surface, so imagine my surprise when it wasn’t Jack who was sick in bed this week…but Forrest! Needless to say, we’ve already been stocking up on tissues for the long winter that awaits us. Tissues are something I don’t like getting the cheapest brand of because they really do help with the healing process from a cold. I love that the Ultra Soft kind really helps your nose from getting raw (which almost always happens with a cold!) We bought this huge package at Sam’s Club — I know we’ll use lots of tissues in the coming month and they are something I definitely am fine with buying in bulk. Even though I doubt we can completely dodge colds and flu this season, I have been researching ways to not just prevent colds but ward them off in the first place. So, I thought I’d share all the infinite knowledge I uncovered with all of you. Below you’ll find ways to prevent colds and how to treat them. I’m not a doctor, so take all this at face value, but I hope it might help keep my family (and yours) a little healthier this winter!
Tips for Preventing Colds and the Flu
This is probably the simplest method out there — be very vigilant about washing your hands and your kids hands. Germs can be spread so easily, and if you make sure you keep your hands clean, it can make a world of difference. Hand sanitizer is always good for helping with this, as well, so be sure to keep some on hand for those times when you won’t be near a sink for awhile!
Eat Protein Rich Foods
Protein helps not only to build body tissue, but to repair it, which helps fight off infections (both viral and bacterial.) Be sure to eat a diet that has plenty of protein.
Clean off gym equipment, shopping carts, etc. (boogie wipes!)
Shopping carts and gym equipment are breeding ground for germs! Have you noticed that most grocery stores and gyms have some kind of sanitizing wipes nearby? They are there for a reason! Always clean eequipmentoff before and after you use it.
Did you know the rotovirus can last up to 48 hours on surfaces? That’s a long time, and it’s plenty of time to get you and your entire family sick.
Studies show that zinc helps to prevent people from getting sick and is especially effective with colds. While I wouldn’t just start downing zinc supplements, you can make sure your diet is rich in foods that contain zinc (such as lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and chickpeas) or by using zinc lozenges or syrup. Apparently zinc may help prevent the rhinovirus (common cause of a cold) from multiplying.
Juice it Up
I’ll be honest — I don’t love the whole “juicing” trend. It just doesn’t appeal to me! However, there are some benefits to it and one of them may just be preventing colds.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a time to help your body repair itself and rejuvenate
People who smoke are shown to have more colds than those that don’t. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Among many other reasons why you shouldn’t smoke (most of which are probably more important than preventing a cold,) you will hopefully have less chance of getting sick!
Phytochemcials are natural chemicals in plants, and they can help you avoid getting sick. Vegetables and fruits that are dark green, red, and yellow are typically high in phytochemicals, so be sure to stock up on those at the grocery store this winter!
Avoid Touching your Face
One of the easiest places for a cold virus to enter your body is through your face. Make a conscious effort to avoid touching your face, especially after you’ve been around a lot of people (who may or may not be sick.)
Use a Tissue or Elbow to Sneeze
I remember being told this in the 6th grade and thinking it was odd — I had always sneezed into my hand. However, by sneezing into your elbow, or even better, a tissue, you can prevent spreading germs to others!
Nasal Saline Rinse
There are different ways to do a nasal saline rinse, and the most common is probably using a Neti Pot. It basically drains all the fluids out of your nose and nasal cavity, helping you breathe and helping to heal the irritated area.
Plenty of Hot Liquids
This includes chicken noodle soup or even just the broth. Hot liquids may help clear up mucus, which will in turn help you breath better. I read somewhere that chicken noodle soup actually does a better job of this than other hot liquids.
Blow Your Nose Often (and Properly)
Apparently, there is a proper way to blow your nose. Who knew! You should place your finger over one nostril and gently blow to clear out the other. The key is being gentle, because if you blow hard, it can cause earaches from phlegm that goes back into your ears. And by blowing your nose often, it helps get rid of it from your body, as opposed to “sniffing” it back into your head and body.
Sweat it Out
Turn on the shower, close the door, and sit down. Let the room fill with steam and just deeply breathe it in. This can help a lot with clearing your nose.
Drink Lots of Fluids
You are more at risk for getting dehydrated while you have a cold, so make sure to stay hydrated. I have heard that milk products can make colds worse, so try and stick with clear liquid (like herbal teas or water.) Drinking a lot of liquids can also help break up the congestion.
Gargle Salt Water
Stay Elevated As You Sleep
Get plenty of Vitamin C
Cut down on alcohol
While I don’t drink, I thought this was interesting. Apparently too much alcohol can suppress your immune system.
Don’t Use Too Many Nasal Decongestants
It actually can make it worse!
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.