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Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

A case of the sniffles can quickly turn into a full-blown cold, or worse—the flu. While these seasonal illnesses may be unavoidable (especially if you have kids who bring home one cold after another from school), there are many things you can do to help protect yourself. Follow the tips below to help prevent catching a cold or getting the flu.

Get Immunized: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get immunized against the flu to protect yourself each flu season. Flu season typically begins in October and continues through spring, with most flu activity peaking between December and February. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about getting the flu vaccine.

Wash Your Hands: Your hands come into contact with millions of germs throughout the day through normal activities like touching doorknobs and shaking hands. Washing your hands with soap and hot water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will help protect you from getting sick.

Cover Up: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue on hand, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow instead of your hands—you're less likely to spread germs from your elbow than you are your hands.

Eat Well: Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients, and eating plenty of them can help support your immune system. RivalHealth, the BB&T fitness and nutrition program, can provide a nutrition plan to support your health goals.

Work Out: Regular exercise helps enhance immune function. Go for a walk or run, take a cycle class or lift weights throughout the week to support your cardiovascular health and your immune system.

Get Your Z's: When you're tired, your body isn't as prepared to fend off illness as when you've had a good night's sleep. If you feel like you're coming down with something, try to get to bed early to get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep to recharge your body.

Stay Home When You're Sick: When you're feeling under the weather, stay home from work and errands so you can rest. Staying home will also help prevent spreading your illness to others.

Already sick? Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and monitor your symptoms. If you're unable to keep fluids down or your symptoms have worsened, contact your doctor or healthcare provider.

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