Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

How to Avoid Getting Sick

December 21, 2020
Feel Better

If you’re trying hard to avoid catching the flu and common cold, here are some common sense prevention tips to keep you healthy, especially this winter whic his further complicted by the COVID virus.

Update: Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, however, it’s especially important to consider a flu vaccine this year to protect yourself and others—and reduce strain on the healthcare system. What’s the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19? See our post, Recognizing the Symptoms: COVID versus the Flu.

Last season, fewer than half of Americans got a flu vaccine and at least 410,000 people were hospitalized from flu.

Tips of Preventing the Flu and Colds

  • The best way to prevent influenza is, without question, is to get vaccinated each year. To protect yourself and others around you, ask your doctor about flu shots. The CDC recommends that every person over the age of 6 months receive the vaccination. If possible, get the flu shot in the fall, before flu season begins. Flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common. We know that increased vaccination coverage reduces the burden on our healthcare system.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after returning from public spaces! Use lots of soap and water. Here’s how to wash your hands right!
  • Don’t use alcohol sanitizers in place of plain soap and water. Here’s why.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face to prevent both flu and the cold. Don’t shake hands or touch surfaces and then bring your fingers to your nose or face. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it!
  • Don’t share washcloths or towels. Use disposable towels or tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs.
  • If you’re in a public restroom, try to avoid touching frequently-touched places, like the faucet or door handle. Shut the faucet off with a paper towel and try to push the door open with your shoulder or use the paper towel to turn the knob.
  • Don’t bite your nails; it spreads germs.
  • Don’t share food or drinks, even a taste.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects in your home or work space that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.

Washing hands

  • When in doubt, hug instead of kiss, even if your heart says otherwise!
  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially fresh, pure water.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed early!
  • Cut back on sugars during wintertime. Also, cut back on alcoholic drinks.
  • Eat correctly, especially lots of fruits with high vitamin C content, as well as veggies and grains that cleanse your system.
  • If you can, take it easy and rest as soon as symptoms develop.
  • Stay at home if you are sick. Your school or office will not appreciate you inadvertently spreading your illness!

And here is some good old-fashioned advice from The 1852 Old Farmer’s Almanac:

To avoid fall fevers, eat moderately, drink sparingly, lie not down on the damp earth, nor overheat yourself; but keep your temper, and change your clothes as the weather changes.

See more tips on preventing cold and flu this winter.

Any other tips on how to prevent the flu or common cold? Please share any helpful tips in the comments below. 

Reader Comments

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Elderberry for colds/flu

Elderberry extract is an effective remedy for colds/flu/virus. Even WedMD touts its effectiveness. Another tip I've heard is never touch your eyes when out in public or if hands are germy. Article said more germs enter by the eye than any other way. I've been following that advice for the last twenty years and only have had about five colds or less!

Great advice expect that flu inoculation

I like all the everyday preventative advice. The one year I took the flu shot I got so sick, I'm not doing that again. I follow the natural methods and find I make it through the season with no problems. It's a choice of awareness in preventative health versus being lazy and just getting 'the shot.'

Vitamin D works like a charm

Vitamin D works like a charm to prevent colds and flu.

This really stings...but it

This really stings...but it works. Put salt directly on a cold sore. The sting only lasts 2 minutes but it works. The cold sore is gone within a day.

Keep comfy outdoors in

Keep comfy outdoors in winter:
Important for warmth is keeping dry, even from perspiration, or exhaling into your scarf; so layering clothes that wick, and carrying spare dry socks and mitts is smart.
Clothing/boots that are tight won't allow airspace to keep you warm and may restrict your circulation.

I have found a great system with socks: I wear a pair of thin cotton first, covered in thick fluffy polypropylene, and another larger pair of cotton or wool to pull the moisture away from my skin. Fold pants under socks, roll outer sock at boot top to keep snow out.