10 Ways to Survive the Flu Season

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average adult person gets two or three colds each year. The risk of catching a cold or contacting flu increases with the constant weather changes and now many people are almost constantly sick and taking antibiotics and flu vaccines. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Besides maintaining good personal hygiene, there are many things you can do to prevent contracting the flu or catching a cold, or at least shorten the period of sickness if you happen to contract something. Here’s what you can do.

1. Eat yogurt for breakfast

Medical study published in 2011 found that consuming probiotics through dairy foods (yogurt, kefir, kimchi) lower the risk of upper respiratory infections by 12 percent. This probably happens thanks to the live cultures in yogurt which are beneficial for the digestive system, as the same cultures can ware off a cold or flu, according to Dr. Philips, the author of the book called The Exhaustion Breakthrough.

2. Breathe fresh air

Spending an entire day in an office with closed windows certainly increases the risk of catching a cold, mainly because airborne viruses cannot exit the room, according to Dr. Philips. Letting the fresh air in or spending more time outside significantly decreases the risk, because the circulation of fresh air gets the viruses moving and as they don’t stay long in one place, you’re less likely to catch them.

3. Don’t let people sneeze into your face

Turning away from people may look rude, but it’s rude to sneeze into someone face too. Being in a sneezer’s range can increase the risk of getting sick as well, so stay at least 20 feet away from people who can pass the flu onto you. In order to avoid sounding and looking rude, you can excuse yourself and say that you always catch a cold when you’re around someone who has it.

4. Stop touching your lips

Many of us tend to touch our lips at least a couple of times within one hour. Although it may seem harmless, it certainly is not. You touch many things with your hands – the toilet handle, the keyboard on your computer, pencils, other people’s hands, etc. This way many bacteria gets onto your hands, and touching your lips means putting all those bacteria there, and risking to get them into your mouth. If you have a problem with quitting this habit, try keeping your hands busy, or keep them in your lap when you’re not using them.


5. Sleep enough

Being constantly tired and not sleeping enough weakens your immune system, which means that your body is not properly defended from outside influences (read: the flu and cold). In order to get your engines running and increase your body’s protection against sickness, make sure you sleep enough each night.

6. Take zinc supplements

If you already have the flue or a cold, take zinc supplements as soon as you notice the first symptoms. A 2013 Cochrane Library analysis of 18 trials found that if you take a zinc supplement within 24 hours of the first cold or flu symptoms, it shortens the period of being ill. A daily dose of 75 milligrams is suggested by the authors of the study who also say that zinc is an essential mineral that boosts the immune system, and that is exactly what you need in order to prevent contracting the flu or ensuring that you’re not ill for a long time if you’ve already contracted the flu.

7. Stay hydrated

When you drink enough fluids, your body is able to effectively flush out many viruses and bacteria that could potentially make you sick. Also, when you’re already sick, if you drink lots of water/tea or other fluids, you’re helping your body thin out the mucus your body makes. Once it’s thinned out, it’s much easier to get it out of your system. Dr. Philips, as well as many other doctors and nutritionists, advises you to drink at least two liters of water (or other liquids – but preferably just clean water and herbal teas) per day.

8. Eat vitamin-rich foods

In order to prevent getting sick, it is important to keep your immune system strong, and what better way to do it than treat your body well and fill up on vitamins contained in leafy greens and fruits.  Eat plenty of these vegetables, and at least one portion of fruits per day, especially during the flu season. If you can’t get enough vitamins in through food for whatever reasons, consider taking multivitamin supplements.

9. Gargle with warm salt water

Gargling with warm salt water helps you kill pathogens and loosen the mucus, which helps you flush out germs, according to Dr. Phillips. This is very useful when you’re already sick, and it can help you get better much faster than you usually would.  Make a solution of water and salt that is in 2:1 proportion and help yourself get better.

10. Eat warm chicken soup

Of course, maybe the best cold healer is the chicken soup. Its steam can open your nose and the broth will soothe your throat. It also has properties which slow the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells and allow them to stay where they’re needed the most.