Winter is never a welcoming season. Even the happiness and jolliness the holidays bring, can’t soothe the discomfort associated with colds and cases of flu. Sometimes the so called “Flu Season” shows its ugly head as early as autumn beginning in October.

Colds are never pleasant no matter when you get them. So, we’ve put together a list so you can get through Cold and Flu Season.

Wishy washy

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Properly washing your hands is a very effective way for lowering your chances of contaminating yourself with germs, via hand-to-mouth contamination, but also lessening the chance for others to get the virus if you’re already sick. Also, try to make a habit out of not touching your nose or mouth during the day. This way you prevent the cold from ever happening, and as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Shoot it down

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Everyone should get the flu vaccine, unless allergic to the ingredients of the shot. It may not be 100% effective in preventing the flu, as each vaccine cannot encompass all of the flu viruses and variations. But it will definitely improve your odds and it sure is better than nothing. It can also be really helpful if your occupation requires you to be in close proximity to many people during the day. In that case, the flu shot is a must!

Fermentation is Comfort station

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Eating probiotics either through fermented food like yogurt, fermented cheeses, kimchi etc. or through probiotic supplements can ward off upper respiratory infections. This has been shown in a study conducted in 2012, but also other numerous papers which show increased immune system efficacy when the intestinal microbiota is working at optimal parameters.

Other coughers are not your brothers

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It’s best to avoid people who are coughing in your vicinity. If you yourself have to cough, do it in the crook of your elbow. This is so that you avoid contaminating your hands and passing it on to others. Bacteria and viruses can easily be transmitted through what are called Flügge droplets. They are tiny particles which come out at an amazing speed out of a person’s mouth and nose when they sneeze or a cough. So, try keeping your distance as much as possible.

Stay hydrated and you’ll be rehabilitated

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Hydration helps your body in numerous ways. First of all, it is important to drink plenty of liquids no matter the circumstance – flu or not. Some doctors say that being well hydrated can even prevent getting the flu in the first place. Either way that old wives’ tale of drinking plenty of soup when you’re sick has some truth to it. Also, tea is another good one. You can also make hot infusions that will help with a sore throat which is often associated with colds.

Salt water is your friend

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Salt can very much decrease inflammation. How you may ask. It’s quite simple – salt draws out water, and thus would shrink the swollen cells that are inflamed in your throat, for example, reducing pain and discomfort. It will definitely help when fighting the flu.

Get a cup of warm water, and thoroughly mix in ½ to 1 teaspoon of table salt. Gargle the resulting concoction to ease that pain. Repeat as needed.

Antibiotic isn’t automatic

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Stay away from antibiotics if dealing with the flu. Antibiotics only work on germs, bacteria etc. Cases of flu are infectious diseases generally caused by the influenza virus. Viruses aren’t affected by antibiotics. Sometimes they are used even with a viral disease because such diseases can be associated with bacterial infections as well. But that is up to your doctor to decide if appropriate for your particular situation.

Ginger will injure your virus

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Ginger is a great expectorant, meaning it will help you cough out the extra mucus in your bronchi and throat, which is definitely often problematic when you have the flu. On top of that, it is a great circulatory stimulant. This will help speed up the healing process of your throat, and other inflamed areas. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory which will relieve some of the discomfort associated with influenza. Use some that are peeled to make a hot cup of ginger tea.

Eat your veggies

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Numerous articles published so far have demonstrated that green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage or kale will help your body in all of its functions. It will fuel your immune system when it needs it the most. Green vegetables also contain powerful antioxidants to help you fight that pesky virus. So, go for a salad on the side with that soup.

Sleep is key

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We’ve all heard of how important it is getting those eight hours a night. But it’s more than just popular belief. People who sleep for less than seven hours a night are nearly three times as susceptible to colds and cases of flu as people who maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Sleep acts on many levels across your body, one of which is raising your serum growth hormone. This is our “youth hormone” which keeps us young healthy and vigorous. GH boosts your immune system and also aids in recovery. Sleep also allows your body to create new immune cells which fight off viruses and infected cells. The list would go on but to keep things short, make sure you get good quality sleep every night, in sufficient amounts.