It’s cold season.
While colds are rarely deadly, dealing with the symptoms can set you back in fitness, work, and health.
Take these simple precautions to help avoid getting sick.
Three words of wisdom
Activity. Nutrition. Sleep. Repeat!
Known as the Army Performance Triad, these three tips are not only critical to Soldiers’ performance, they are also important to help prevent catching a cold.
Physical activity raises your body’s temperature, increases red blood cell production, and strengthens your immune system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Try one of these fitness hacks to keep your body moving.
Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Poor nutrition hurts your immune system, which lowers your body’s natural defenses against viruses and infections. Frozen veggies like spinach, broccoli and asparagus are easy — and cheap — to buy. Plus, they contain vitamins that help you ward off colds.
Make the time to get eight hours of sleep to greatly reduce the chances of getting sick.
Keep it clean
Always wash your hands with soap, if it’s available. You don’t know who grabbed the door handle before you. Make sure to scrub under those fingernails.
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and face, too. That’s how germs get into your body and start causing trouble.
Respond to the dips and rises in temperature by adjusting to your environment.
When it gets cold outside, keep warm by layering. Wear an undershirt to keep your body heat in and definitely wear a jacket. Put on earmuffs — or a beanie, if that’s your style — and keep a pair of gloves on you.
When it warms up, you can peel off layers to keep from overheating.
Doc, it still got me!
If you do get sick, start chugging clear fluids — think water, tea and juice.
Drink herbal tea to help soothe your throat. If you’ve got a cough, try a spoonful of honey. Vitamin C in fruits and juices can boost your immune system and prevent your cold from taking a turn for the worse. Get the scoop on natural cold remedies like Vitamin C and Echinacea.
There are many cold and flu medications available over the counter. Figure out how to choose the right treatment for your symptoms.
If your symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days, talk to your Medical Readiness NCO or medical health professional.
Five ways to combat the flu and cold season
Is your nose starting to run or your throat feeling scratchy? Cold and flu season peaks between December and March, so learn how to fight it with these tips from Know Your Dose: Get this year’s flu vaccine. Army National Guard Soldiers are required to get a flu shot once a year. Getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu, so go ahead and get vaccinated sooner rather than later. Wash your hands regularly. Wash your hands before and after eating, after using the bathroom and after you’ve been around large crowds. Scrub for at least 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song. Don’t touch your face. Germs are often spread when you touch something contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. If you just have to scratch that itch on your nose, use the back of your hand where less germs reside. Take care of yourself. Practicing other healthy habits, like getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, drinking lots of fluids and eating healthy foods, will help build up your immune system. Learn which medicines to take and when. There are many cold and flu medications available over the counter. Make sure to pick the one that treats your specific symptoms. Stay healthy and safe this season!