Cold & Flu Prevention Tips
The nights are getting longer, the air’s getting a bit more cooler, and fall is just around the corner! While I love most things about fall (crisp autumn air, fresh apples and fall squash, new boots and cozy sweaters…) the arrival of fall comes with the arrival of cold and flu season, which I obviously do not love.
Here are my tried and true tricks, tips, and must-haves for cold and flu prevention:
1. Keep Your Hands Clean!
Seriously, this is the easiest most effective way to prevent the spread of colds, flus, and other easily spread illnesses. Wash your hands, make your kids wash their hands, and keep your hands off communal surfaces and away from your face as much as possible. As a frequent face-toucher, I know that this can be easier said than done…so I always keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer (this one by Purell has added skin soothing aloe!) in my purse. If I’m travelling, I also use antibacterial wipes to wipe down the armrests, tray table, and tv screen at my seat on the plane. I started doing this about a year ago, and haven’t gotten sick on a flight since.
2. Start Nasal Rinsing
If you’re new to the world of nasal rinses, I understand your hesitation about being told to spray salt water up your nose. I promise you it’s not as weird or uncomfortable as it sounds. As a frequent allergy sufferer, I use a saline rinse or mist like hydraSense regularly to help me breathe easier, especially when I’m having an allergy flare-up. And during cold and flu season, I use one daily to help clear out my nasal passages. Regular nasal rinses help to clear viruses, dirt, germs, and other irritants from your nasal passages, which helps prevent germs from getting into your system.
4. Give Your Immune System a Boost
We can’t stop cold and flu season from arriving, and we can’t hide from any other human contact until it’s over…but we CAN take steps to improve our immune systems to help ward off anything that might be going around. My favourite natural immune boosters are zinc and echinacea, and Vitamin C. All three of these are natural immune boosters that studies have shown can shorten the duration of a cold, or even prevent it from taking hold in the first place. I start to take zinc tablets, an echinacea supplement, or a Vitamin-C supplement at the first sign of a stuffy nose or a scratchy throat, or even when I notice coworkers sniffling in the office or an increase in people talking about having a cold on social media.
Sometimes, despite our best preventative efforts, cold and flu season gets the best of us and we get sick. If you or someone in your family gets hit with a nasty bug, these are my tried and trusted ways to treat it and get back to feeling better as quickly as possible.
For me, the first sign that I’m really getting sick is a vicious sore throat. It’s also the symptom I hate the most. If you find yourself in a similar situation, turn to tea to help soothe the soreness. Bonus — sipping on a hot beverage is also super comforting and cozy, and the steam helps to open up stuffed nasal passages and help with the congestion that so often accompanies a cold or flu.
I usually turn to a caffeine-free herbal tea from my ever-growing tea stash, but I also swear by NeoCitran for when I need an extra flu-fighting boost with my daily cuppa.
2. Oil of Oregano & Garlic
My mother swears by garlic as a flu-fighter. I’ve been taking a whole clove of garlic (raw and minced, with a teaspoon of honey) at the first sign of a cold or flu since I was little. Garlic has a long history of being used traditionally to fight colds and flus, and it’s especially good at battling the symptoms that affect your sinuses and respiratory tract. Oil of oregano is a similarly powerful natural remedy, and has been used widely for ages for its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic effects. The trouble is (which you’ll know if you’ve ever eaten a clove of raw garlic or swallowed a spoonful of oregano oil), they are INTENSE to take. The taste really brings a new meaning to “acquired taste.” I don’t know if I’ll ever actually acquire a taste for oregano oil or a whole clove of raw garlic, but thankfully, I don’t have to. Platinum Oregano-8 Cold & Flu Relief contains oregano oil, garlic, and other immune boosters like zinc, echinacea, Vitamin-C and goldenseal to help give you quick, natural relief from colds and flus…all in an easy to take caplet.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
This won’t cure you, but it’ll definitely help you feel better and rest easier with a cold. And since rest is crucial to healing, it’s a must-have in my medicine cabinet during cold and flu season. Eucalyptus oil is a powerful essential oil that’s been used for centuries to help soothe respiratory issues. My favourite way to use it when I’m sick is in my aromatherapy diffuser. It creates a soothing mist that helps open up my stuffy nose, soothes my cough, and lets me breathe easier and actually get some sleep.
4. All-In-One Cold Medicine
I’m a big fan of natural remedies for basically everything, but a hardcore all-in-one cold and flu medicine is something that my medicine cabinet is NEVER without. I look for formulas that help to treat all my symptoms, come in easy to take caplets, and, most importantly, that actually help me sleep. Because sometimes, the best thing you can do to for a cold or flu is to just take the day off and sleep for hours.
What are your tried and true methods for preventing and treating colds & flus? Tell us in the comments!
Did you know? Free flu shots are available at all Rexall Drugstore locations across Canada without an appointment. Get yours today!