Tips to Avoid Catching a Cold or the Flu this Fall

(NC) Ever wonder why you often get sick during the transition between fall and winter? Colds and flu are very contagious and can spread quickly and easily, especially as we move indoors and spend more time closer together. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and fight cold and flu this fall:

Get vaccinated. The best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get your flu vaccine every year. Flu viruses change each year and experts create a new vaccine to protect you each flu season. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

Hand-washing. Washing your hands is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread certain germs just by touching another person, and catch them when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face. Keep shared surfaces clean. Practice proper hand-washing by using an adequate amount of plain soap, rubbing your hands together to create friction and rinsing under running water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

Sleep right. Have you ever gotten sick after a week or two of staying up late only to feel  like you have yourself to blame? Sleeping well helps make us healthier and getting your seven to nine hours can do more for your health than you may realize. Sleeping the right amount keeps your immune system healthier, stress levels down and helps your body repair itself.

De-stress. Long-term stress puts extra wear and tear on your body, dampening your immune system and keeping you from fighting off illnesses. Studies show that a few simple behaviours can have amazing results in keeping your stress levels low. Unwinding with a hobby, exercising regularly, and spending time with friends may help keep your stress levels in check.

Take antibiotics as directed by your healthcare provider. Remember that antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections and not cold and flu viruses. Taking antibiotics for a cold or the flu won't help you get better and can contribute to antibiotic resistance. You can also reduce the risks of antibiotic resistance by preventing infection or the spread of infection. Wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, keep your vaccinations up to date, and stay at home if you're sick.

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