How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Published on Nov 04, 2013

It’s that time of year—crisp air, colorful leaves, pumpkin-flavored everything and…the flu. Nothing came make life more miserable than a cold that doesn’t die or the “death” flu. Here’s how you can stay healthy this flu season.

DO 

  • Get a flu shot. It’s the best defense against the agony of the flu. Not sure where to get one?Most drugstores and Columbia's health clinic offer flu shots. But although the flu shot helps, no vaccine can offer full protection against all viruses, so the next steps are important, too! 
  • Wash your hands frequently. Your hands touch a lot of things and are bound to pick up some germs. Washing your hands for 15-30 seconds in hot water will kill bacteria. Make sure to wash your hands after touching doors, knobs, shared computers, water coolers and, of course, before eating.
  • Get sleep. Can you give your very best effort when you’re tired? Well, neither can your immune system. Sleep can help your body stay alert to fight viruses.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes doorknobs, light switches, handles, etc. Germs tend to linger and spread when unattended, so spraying disinfectant can’t hurt.
  • Use a humidifier. Viruses and bacteria love cold weather because it’s keeps them more stable and they can survive longer in it. But, a humidifier can help keep the air warmer and cleaner. It’s a two-for-one…a heater and a germ fighter. You can’t beat that.
  • Exercise. Increasing your body’s temperature prevents viruses from spreading throughout it. If you don’t like exercising in the cold, Columbia offers some free indoor exercise classes this semester.

DON’T

  • Skip meals or eat unhealthy food. If you need a good reason not to eat flaming hot cheetohs, here it is. Skipping meals will only decrease the amounts of vitamins and nutrients your body gets. Eating healthier (containing vitamin C, zinc, etc.) will help prevent getting the flu too.
  • Forget your hand sanitizer! You can’t always make it to a sink, so hand sanitizer is a portable way to beat the germs.
  • Hang around people who are sick. We all love our friends and family, but we love ourselves too. Being with people who are sick is likely to get you sick too, so unless you don’t mind feeling crappy for few days, then you should limit your contact for the time being. They’ll understand.