healthy winter habits

Another cough and cold season calls for healthy preparation, and while there may not be a foolproof plan for escaping bothersome germs, taking preventive steps and practicing self-care can help protect your health.

You can catch a cold or flu any time of the year, but they seem more common during the cooler months.

Reduce the chances you’ll contract a serious illness this cold season by following these tips:

Make handwashing a priority. Preventive measures like washing your hands often can significantly lower your odds of getting sick. In fact, handwashing is such a powerful tool against germs that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared it to a “do-it-yourself vaccine.” Wash regularly with soap and water for about 20 seconds, especially when handling food, caring for someone sick or after using the restroom.

Get your flu shot. The CDC recommends getting a yearly flu vaccine to protect yourself from flu viruses. Ideally, everyone 6 months and older should get one, especially anyone at high risk for flu complications due to underlying conditions or other factors.

Make overall wellness a way of life. Adopting healthy everyday habits means your body is in better condition to fight off potential attacks by germs and combat an illness more effectively if you do get sick. A well-balanced diet that includes moderate portions from each of the major food groups can help ensure you’re getting the nutrition and nutrients your body needs. Staying physically active can help promote a stronger immune system. Getting enough sleep and making sure you’re drinking enough water can also ensure your body is ready for whatever the season brings.

Stock up on necessary supplies. If you do get sick, the best place for you is at home, where you can nurse yourself back to health. That means having the essentials on hand, like over-the-counter medications to treat uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms. Be sure to check last year’s leftovers, as some may have expired. A shopping list to fight common cold and flu symptoms should include pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, antihistamines, throat lozenges and cough suppressants, as well as plenty of facial tissue, a working thermometer, humidifier and more. Also update your supply of hand sanitizer and disinfecting cleaners and sprays to protect family members in your home.

Relieve bothersome symptoms. When you’re under the weather, treating your symptoms gives you a reprieve and lets your body rest so you can get back to feeling better. A cough is a common cold symptom, and relieving chest congestion that causes you to cough frequently can make a big difference. There are many options to relieve cold and flu symptoms, including over-the-counter medications such as Mucinex Extended-Release Bi-Layer Tablets.. These types of medications can provide fast, much-needed relief.

 If you do get sick, take steps to protect those around you. Simple acts like covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and using your elbow if you don’t have a tissue can be effective in preventing the spread of germs. It’s also important to wash your hands well and keep a distance from others to help prevent the spread of your illness.

Lifestyle habits can also go a long way toward easing cough symptoms on their own or paired with medication.

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water or other fluids helps thin the mucus in your chest.
  • Suck a lozenge. Let a lozenge dissolve in your mouth to soothe your throat and ease a tickling, dry cough.
  • Use a humidifier. Dry air can worsen throat pain and coughing. A humidifier can help by moistening the air you breathe.
  • Skimping on rest when you have a cough or cold can make healing harder. Allow yourself to relax and sleep as needed.


This post is sponsored by Mucinex. Find more advice for preventing illness and protecting yourself this cough and cold season at

Latest posts by Westchester Senior Voice (see all)