Fall is in full swing, and so are the seasonal joys it brings: sweaters, changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything – just to name a few. While fall is a refreshing time for many of us, we’re also familiar with its risks. As temperatures drop and we spend more time indoors, germs are a looming threat.

But you don’t have to let them beat you. Take a look at 10 tips to battle cold and flu season, so you can keep your summertime health.

1. Get the Dang Shot

The best way to prevent the flu is – you guessed it – a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccinations reduce the risk of the flu by as much as 60%. See our Flu Vaccine Q & A blog to help answer any questions you may have and get your shot ASAP.

2Wash Those Hands

It’s easy to overlook, but your hands touch hundreds of items every day – many of which have been touched by many others before you. Periodically washing your hands throughout the day with soap and warm water can work wonders for keeping illness at bay.

3And Keep Those Hands Off Your Face!

Believe it or not, casual nail-biting, eye-rubbing, even nose-picking can be an easy gateway for germs to get into your body. We know that you’re following the previous tip and that your hands are spick and span, but every little face touch counts during cold and flu season.

4Eat the Rainbow (no, Skittles don’t count)

We’re not judging if that slice of pizza is calling your name. However, we will ask that you go for the veggie pizza, eat a side salad, and/or drink a fresh juice with it. Even if you’re not on-point 100% of the time, be mindful that you’re getting a healthydose and variety of fresh, immune-boosting fruits and vegetables.

5. Stay Hydrated, Stay Balanced

Our fluid recommendations, in order of importance: water, water, water – did we mention water? Tea and freshly-squeezed juice count too, but be sure to focus on water.

So how much is enough? Well, Mayo Clinic explains how water intake is more of a healthy range than an exact amount, which can be affected by an individual’s size, activity level, or environment. On average, men need about 13 cups per day and women need about 9 cups per day.

If you’re drinking lots of coffee or caffeinated beverages, be sure to drink extra water as caffeine is a diuretic. Also, make sure you get plenty of potassium and don’t overdo the salt. The body’s potassium to sodium ratios are a critical factor in balancing how much water it retains or expels.

6. Don’t Neglect Your Sheep… We Mean Sleep.

Who doesn’t love sleep? On top of being delightfully rejuvenating for your mind, it’s a time for our body to regenerate and strengthen itself. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body’s immune system can get worn down, leaving the door open for germ exposure to turn into a nasty cold.

7. Be A Champ: Work-It-Out

The National Institutes of Health has great information on the health benefits of regular exercise. Physical activity can help flush bacteria from your lungs, circulate antibodies and white blood cells more quickly, and slow down the release of immune-weakening stress hormones. It’s a real win-win.

But beware – if you’re already sick, exercise is not the cure. You need rest!

8Ditch the Cigs and Booze

You’ve heard it before, but it doesn’t get any less important. Tobacco and alcohol can wreak havoc on a number of bodily systems, and your immune system is one of them. In addition to making you more vulnerable to catching a cold or flu, they can also make your illness last longer once you do catch it.

9. Avoid Double-Dipping

If you’re a food-sharer, it’s probably a good idea to be cautious during cold and flu season. If you’re swapping smoothies or double-dipping French fries, you’re all the more susceptible to whatever germs your friends, family, or coworkers may be harboring. Keep in mind that people can be infected for up to 72 hours without showing any symptoms!

10. Keep Your Distance (and your sanity)

Being in close quarters is inevitable, especially if you’re often on public transit. But whenever you can, try to stay a couple of feet away from others. This doubles as another incentive to slip away from the office close-talker when they approach you in the break room.

In the unfortunate event that you do catch a bug, schedule an in-office or virtual appointment, or come by for a walk-in to get relief from these typical cold/flu symptoms: 

1. Fevers

2. Sore Throat

3. Body Aches and Weakness

4. Nausea and Stomach Aches

5. Headaches

6. Cough, Wheezing or Shortness of Breath