Summer is over, fall is here, winter is coming, and the cooler weather is slowly but surely making its way back into our lives. If you’re a fall addict, it’s a very exciting time for you–pumpkin spice lattes, cozy socks and flannel scarves. It’s your time to shine! However, with the cool weather comes another season that a lot of people are not a fan of—flu season. The germs are alive and well in the air at the start of fall, and it can be a very worrisome season because, let’s be real, no one wants to be sick in bed with the flu or suffering throughout the day with a cold. According to WedMD, 5-20% of the US population will get the flu each year, so your chances of coming down with it are pretty good. Below, find a few unique ways–besides washing your hands and steering clear of your coughing coworkers–to avoid getting sick this season.

  1. Vitamin C. There’s a reason your mom told you to drink orange juice when you were younger. Vitamin C does so many wonderful things for the immune system, and has many other health benefits as well. When you feel something coming on, Emergen C or Airborne is a great way to stop it. Pour a packet into a glass of water about 1-2 times a day before you get sick and it’ll do its magic before the flu can hit you at full force.
  2. Multi-Vitamins. Vitamin C is not enough to prevent colds and flus… and it’s not enough to keep you healthy year-round. Get yourself some multivitamins that go along with your health needs to maintain your immune system and keep you healthy. Particularly, Vitamins B, C and D are the ones you should be taking to help boost your immune system. Also, they are no longer big, tasteless pills that feel gross going down. Get a yummy, gummy vitamin that tastes a bit like candy. You’ll be much happier that way.
  3. Steam Room. Now, this might not be for everyone, but it’s a fun and different way to keep yourself healthy. Sitting in a steam room has so many different health benefits, some that are perfect for the cold weather. Plus, who doesn’t want to warm up in a nice, hot steam room when it’s below-zero outside? Steam rooms helps improve circulation, which in turn leads to lower blood pressure and a healthier heart. They also boost your immune system, as the warmth stimulates cells to fight infection. Steam is a great way to clear your congestion, whether it’s in your chest or nose. An alternative to this would be to fill a bowl up with hot water and put a towel over your head, breathing in the warmth.
  4. Sleep. If your body is fighting off a cold or another type of sickness it’s going to exhaust your entire body. When you are about to get sick, you need as much rest as possible–a solid 8 hours should do it but if you can get 1 or 2 more, that’ll be great. Sleep is really an all-out cure because sometimes you may just feel like you’re getting sick but really, you are exhausted.
  5. Meditation. Meditation is usually something recommended for mental health wellness, but everything is linked. If you’re stressed out, your immune system is down and more susceptible to catching something. Meditation might not seem like it’s the answer, but it is definitely something you should incorporate, at least once a day, if you’re determined to be calm, cool, and healthy this season.
  6. Exercise: You should try to exercise all year long, but it’s especially important to get in a few workouts a week in the winter. It helps keep your mental health intact (the winter blues are a serious thing) and it will help boost your body’s immunity, essentially protecting your body against the germs that will get you sick.
  7. Humidifiers and air purifiers. Keeping the air in your house moist and clean will really help you stay healthy during the colder months. It’ll help with your breathing and clearing up your sinuses, plus it’s always better to be breathing in clean, cool air. It’s recommended to sleep with one on all night or use as you feel it’s needed.
  8. Essential Oils. Oils are not just good for mental health; they can really do wonders for cold and flu symptoms. There are many different ways to apply the oils to help relieve the pain. You can diffuse the oils, inhale them through a steam bowl, or apply some to a warm or cool compress and place on your body. The oils that are especially good for cold and flu are eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, and lavender.
  9. Hydration. You should always be drinking as much water as possible throughout your days, but it’s highly important to stay hydrated in times when you’re feeling a bit ill. This will help keep your body out of a dehydrated state and make you feel even slightly better.
  10. Tea. This may seem so ordinary but you’d be surprised at the wonders that tea can do for your body. There are so many different teas to drink to help keep yourself healthy. Black and green tea are the ones you should be drinking when you’re trying to steer clear of sickness because they have antioxidant effects. If you really want to make a strong lifestyle change, incorporating tea is also a good idea because it’s been proven to help against heart attacks, strokes, and improves bone health.

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