Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to a great time with my friends and family. As a matter of fact, I’ve already started the party!! I also want to try and do everything I can to avoid getting sick during the holiday season and beyond. Let me tell you, the flu and COVID are still out there. There are things that we can do to help ourselves out. Let me say I am not a doctor in any way, and the tips below are simply suggestions and things that I do regularly, so here goes.
- Wash your hands – Washing our hands regularly with soap and water can help prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands before preparing, eating, and after meals, before and after caring for someone sick, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, touching garbage, using the restroom, etc. The CDC recommends washing our hands for at least 20 seconds. I’ve always used hand sanitizers, and since COVID began, it’s become an even more popular commodity. I use it often when I’m unable to use soap and water.
- Lysol, disinfectant wipes, and Clorox – Using these items to disinfect or sanitize surfaces can help reduce the spread of disease, especially if someone is sick in the home. My mom used products like these whether anyone was sick or not. LOL! Start by cleaning the surfaces with clean water and a good household cleaner. Sanitizing with one or more of these items will help reduce the remaining germs after cleaning. The product, Microban, has become very popular as well. Just remember, using these products on your skin is not good, so you may want to wear cleaning gloves.
- Use face masks – There are many opinions about wearing masks. I try to wear them consistently. Since I wear a regular surgical mask most of the time, I try to wear a new one each time. The higher-quality masks are N95, KN95, & KF94. According to the CDC Director and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, Dr. Tom Frieden, tweeted in January of 2021 that N95s are “the most protective mask.”
- Healthy diet – A healthy diet provides essential sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, plant protein, and antioxidants. Eating enough foods rich in antioxidants means the body has a better chance of fighting off cold and flu bugs, so make sure to eat plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
- Taking vitamins and other supplements – Vitamins such as vitamin C may help to reduce the duration of our illness, like the common cold. Vitamin C is a nutrient our body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Most people get enough vitamin C from a healthy diet, but it’s available as an oral supplement for those who don’t get enough from a healthy diet. Remember to follow the appropriate doses, as taking too much vitamin C can cause side effects, such as nausea, heartburn, headaches, and a few others.
- Exercise – Exercising regularly may reduce our chances of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. You’d be surprised how walking regularly can improve your sleep, lower your stress, improve your heart health, and have other great benefits. However, talking with your doctor before starting an exercise routine is important.
- Good Sleep – Getting quality sleep greatly supports the immune system. It also helps reduce stress and improve our overall mood.
- Vaccinations – Dr. Jen Caudle says vaccines are the ultimate immune boosters. The popular ones are the flu, pneumonia, and COVID vaccinations and boosters. Although it is recommended that we get the flu vaccination by the end of October, it is still not too late to get it. Also, if you’re 50 years or older, the CDC recommends getting the shingles vaccination.
- Stay home – If we are sick, avoid exposing others by staying at home. This is especially true if we have a fever. The CDC advises that we stay home at least 24 hours after a fever of 100 degrees or above is gone.
I know we already know these things, but it’s a good reminder to have every now and again. Stay healthy and Merry Christmas, everyone!!
Article Written by: Janet Downs| Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community and is working towards starting her own non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health and seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is active in church ministry, a writer, and loves music, hiking, and travel.