Ways to prepare for cold and flu season

The cold and flu season is upon us and, even though we know it is coming every year, it can still sometimes catch us unaware. While we may not be able to avoid it, there are some things we can do to reduce our chances of getting sick.

Stock up: Take the time when you are healthy to stock up your medicine cabinet. Make note of expiration dates on your previous years’ supply and dispose of those that are not longer usable.. Be sure you have a wide variety of medications that include cold, sinus and pain medications as well as items such as cough drops, throat lozenges and nasal sprays. You will thank yourself later when you finally do catch that cold or flu and are ready for it.

Stock up on food as well: Running to the grocery store when you are sick is only going to make you feel worse. Stock up on food and comfort drinks when you are getting supplies for  your medicine cabinet. Fluids are very important when you have a cold or flu and dehydration is one of the biggest reasons you feel so terrible when you are sick. Make sure you have a lot tea and chicken noodle soup to soothe a sore throat.  And don’t forget juices, especially those high in vitamin C! !

Keep your hands clean:  It’s an easy thing to do and teach your kids, but proper hand washing is an extremely effective way to prevent colds.. Warm water and anti-bacterial soap is the way to start,  then make sure each time you wash, you scrub and lather for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry, using disposable towels when available.  Use that towel to turn off the faucet and avoid getting  germs on your freshly scrubbed hands. Also, try to keep your hands away from your face, specifically your eyes, nose and mouth. These are the areas where viruses gain entry and if you don’t touch your face, you don’t risk passing along germs.

Break out the disinfectant: 
Even if you are feeling better after a bout with the flu, the germs are still living in your house. Make sure to do some cleaning once you are feeling up to it, paying special attention to household surfaces, especially those made of metal, plastic and wood.  Germs can live longer on these items. Disinfecting high traffic areas on a regular basis will ensure that the germs are gone and stay gone.

Don’t spread the germs yourself: It seems simple, but if you are healthy, stay away from sick people. If you are sick, stay home and keep your germs to yourself. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or, if one isn’t available, into the crook of your arm rather than your hands.