If you’re in warm weather this winter, lucky for you! But for many of us, we’ve entered the brrr season.
We’re more prone to colds in the winter because the cold virus (rhinovirus) replicates faster in colder weather, according to numerous studies. We also spend more time indoors and are in closer contact with others, and their germs. Disruptive symptoms (which can seem to go on forever) include “runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing, mild-to-moderate fever, a cough, headache or body aches, and some mild tiredness,” says Papatya Tankut, registered pharmacist and vice president of pharmacy affairs at CVS Health.
To stay on top of our health this season, we joined the #StayHealthyWithCVS campaign, sponsored by the leading drugstore chain. Germs are unavoidable, but you can help minimize your chances of getting a cold, and maximize the speed at which you recover, by following a few simple steps.
WASH YOUR HANDS
“Touching everyday items like door handles and other surfaces can be difficult to avoid. To help combat germs, wash hands frequently (especially after coughing or sneezing) with soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose areas,” advises Papatya. Make sure to wash your hands when you’re healthy and when you’re stick, so nobody’s germs are exchanged. If your hands get dry in the winter, soap will generally make them even more dry– keep a moisturizer handy!
PROTECT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
“Getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking adequate fluids, and eating nutritious food are all healthy habits that can help to keep your immune system in top condition,” Papatya says. Try organic supplements for daily immune system health.
When flying, bring these immune-boosting tablets (which will dissolve in hot or cold water) since the air on planes is recycled and can be loaded with germs. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, which is crucial for supporting your immune health, take a low dose of melatonin to help.
PREPARE FOR A COLD
Don’t wait to go to the pharmacy when you can barely lift yourself from bed to pee. Pick up a few essentials you know you’ll need to deal with the cold, including bottles of daytime cold relief (non-drowsy) and nighttime cold relief. Both contain active ingredients acetaminophen and dextromethorphan to help reduce coughs and cold symptoms. The nighttime formula also helps get you to sleep.
And keep wallet-sized tissue packs in your purse, whether or not you have a cold. You never know when the gal or guy might start sneezing next to you, and you can offer a helping hand (or tissue)!