Winter is prime time for flu, colds and other respiratory illnesses, mostly due to people spending more time indoors with others during cold-weather months. Here are some tips for staying healthy this winter:
Get vaccinated against flu. It’s not too late to get the vaccine, which can be taken as a shot or a nasal spray. Flu season peaks in February and can continue through the spring.
Eat a balanced diet. A good diet, especially one full of colorful fruits and vegetables, can help boost your immune system.
Wash hands frequently. Colds, flu and other illnesses are often spread by hands that have touched a contaminated surface. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds. Alcohol-based hand rubs are OK if soap and water are not available.
Exercise. It can strengthen your body’s ability to fight off germs.
Don’t touch your face. You can become infected when you touch something that is contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay away from infected people. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Illnesses can be passed through coughs, sneezes and contaminated surfaces. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick.
Quit smoking. If you use tobacco or breathe in secondhand smoke, it makes you more prone to respiratory illnesses and complications.
Keep stress in check. Studies show stress can weaken the immune system.
Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can reduce immunity. Get enough sleep, and nap when you can.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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