With fall comes cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, scarves, and some less pleasant things—like cold season! 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 shots).
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. 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 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.
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 you’re much more likely to catch a cold. Make sleeping 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 shut eye it can be incredibly beneficial.
Easier said than done, I know. However, stress drastically decreases the efficiency of your immune system. Stress has a physical effect on your body. while your body is making an effort to deal with stress, it’s not running quite as smoothly as it should be. Your body can’t really respond to infections as well as it normally would if you’re stressed. So if you’re consistently stressed out, 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. All the staying indoors we do in the fall and winter puts us in more contact with other people and their germs. 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.
Wash your hands!
This one seems obvious, but I recently had a conversation with a couple friends who said they generally don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. So I figured it was worth mentioning. (And I've decided to stop sharing food with them.) When avoiding germs and getting sick this fall, “Soap and water remain your most effective tools there, 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 because it's made out of natural ingredients and has an incredible lavender scent!
If you seem to get sick every time the weather starts to become cold, try these tips to stop your streak. If you make the extra effort to avoid getting sick this fall, you won’t have to spend your holidays sneezing and coughing. For more resources on how to stay healthy, check below.