With fall comes cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, scarves, and some less pleasant things—like cold and flu season! And of course, we are still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, so staying healthy is more important than ever. If you're a frequent victim of the cold-weather colds, read on to find out how to avoid getting sick this fall.
Get a flu shot (and all other immunizations)
Many places offer free flu shots in the fall and winter, so you don’t really have an excuse for not getting one. There’s even a website that finds the closest pharmacy offering one, just click here. If you have a primary care physician, you can also go there for your immunization.
You may hate needles, but you probably hate the flu more. At least a shot is over in a few seconds. The flu, not so much. And if you have any doubts, make sure you’re up to date on all your vaccinations so you can avoid catching anything nastier than the flu.
Flu shots won’t protect you 100% from the flu, as there are many different strains, but a vaccination does greatly decrease your chances. And remember, flu strains change every year, which means you need to receive another shot each year.
Wear a Mask
It's true: wearing a mask is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others healthy during the pandemic. Wearing a mask mostly protects those around you from your germs, but stories increasingly show that even cloth masks provide the wearer with some amount of protection!
Practice Social Distancing
You've heard it over and over (and over) by this point, but this is important stuff. Practice social distancing if you want to completely avoid getting sick this fall. Social distancing guidelines include:
- Limiting the number of people you come into contact with
- Never gathering in groups of more than ten
- Staying at least six feet away from others
- Gather outside or in a well-ventilated indoor space
Go to sleep!
Obviously getting a good amount of sleep is important. But it’s even more important to get a good night’s sleep when you want to avoid getting sick, as a lack of sleep slows down your immune system. No, you’re not going to get sick after pulling one all-nighter, but if you consistently don’t get enough sleep your immune system won't be in tip-top shape.
Make sleep a priority this fall because you’re going to wind up in bed either way—asleep and healthy or tired and sick.
If you have trouble falling asleep, there's no shame in taking melatonin to help you get some extra shut-eye. While you might not want to take a melatonin pill every day, if you take it on those nights when you really need some sleep it can be incredibly beneficial.
Wash your hands!
This one seems obvious, but I recently had a conversation with a couple of friends who said they generally don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. So I figured it was worth mentioning.
When avoiding germs and getting sick this fall, soap and water remain your most effective tools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And make sure to dry them! Damp hands are more likely to spread germs than dry ones.
Investing in some great hand soap can make all the difference. We love Mrs. Meyer's soap because it's made out of natural ingredients and has an incredible lavender scent!
Easier said than done, I know. However, stress drastically decreases the efficiency of your immune system. Stress has a physical effect on your body and you can't respond to infections as well as you usually would. So if you’re consistently stressed out (and who isn't right now), take some time every day to fight it. Relax with a book, practice deep breathing, exercise, whatever works. Because you’ll be even more stressed if you get sick!
It may be cold, but if you don’t want to get sick, try leaving the toasty fireside. Going outside for a breath of fresh, germ-reduced air will help you out. Plus, a bit of outdoor exercise will help boost your immune system.
This is good year-round advice but we tend to forget about it in the fall when we’re not sweating it up. But if you’re already feeling the beginning of the cold, drinking a lot of juice or water can help decrease symptoms. Staying hydrated keeps your body physically healthy and stronger.
If you seem to get sick every time the weather starts to become cold, try these tips to stop your streak. This year, more than ever, it is important to stay healthy. If you make the extra effort to avoid getting sick this fall, you won’t have to spend your holidays sneezing and coughing.