Assorted fruitIt’s cold and flu season and it seemed to show up quickly.  It caught be off guard.  I came down with a cold without even knowing where I caught it from.  I usually bump up my prevention routine when cold season hits.

There are several things you can do to help prevent getting a cold or the flu.

The first thing you can do is wash your hands frequently.  The important thing to remember is the 20 second rule.  Not to be confused with the 5 second rule.  When washing your hands, you should wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap to kill the germs.  During cold and flu season I become a little obsessed with washing my hands.  I wash them after I touch door handles, light switches, railings, etc., anyplace that someone else might have touched.  I also make sure I wash my hands before I eat, before I touch my face, before I make food, every time I cough or sneeze, and after using the restroom or blowing my nose.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, you should always have hand sanitizer available.  I keep some in my purse and in my desk at work.  It’s also a good idea to keep some in your car.  Apply frequently and thoroughly to your hands.

The second thing I do to help prevent getting sick is to take vitamin C, echinacea, and garlic.  Vitamin C is a vitamin that helps fight infection and is commonly used to prevent and treat colds.  Echinacea is an herb that is known to fight infections.  It used to be used frequently before antibiotics were developed.  Garlic is an herb that has also been used to treat colds.  During cold and flu season I try to take these every morning and every night.  They help prevent me from getting sick or help reduce the length and severity of the cold.  Zinc is another mineral that is frequently used to help prevent colds.

Third, you should exercise regularly to keep your immune system strong.

Fourth, get plenty of sleep.  When you start to feel tired your immune system is at risk and you are more likely to get sick.  As soon as you start to feel tired or when you notice the first signs of getting a cold, get more sleep.

Another way to help prevent a cold or flu is to kill germs on surfaces with Lysol or antibiotic wipes.  Kill germs on doorknobs, light switches, sinks, faucets, handles, computer keyboards, desks, counters, steering wheels and any other surface.

Finally, eat healthy foods to help keep your immune system strong. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are good for fighting colds.  Tea and chicken soup have also been known to help alleviate cold symptoms and help you feel better.

These are some common tips to help prevent and shorten cold viruses.  Most of these tips have definitely helped me fight off colds.  Here’s to your health.