Flu season is here, and it's knocking people down left and right.
Still haven't been infected? Lucky you! Staying healthy and germ-free when everyone around you is sniffling, sneezing, and coughing is a veritable feat.
Continue your flu-free streak with these tips on boosting your immune system and disinfecting your environment so you can continue to ward off this wintertime illness.
In the unfortunate event that you or someone else in your care does contract the bug, we've got a few suggestions for how to cope and kick those flu symptoms to the curb.
How to avoid the flu
You've managed to stave off fever and chills, but you're stuck watching friends, family, and co-workers stumble around infected. Every moment of malaise is a source of stress. What if you're coming down with something!? Protect yourself and keep germs at bay with these tips.
Get a flu shot
The flu vaccine won't eliminate the flu once you've contracted it, but it will improve your immunity and allow you to hang around infected friends and family with a little more ease. It's a must for anyone working in the healthcare field (doctors, nurses, other hospital and clinic staff) and for those who frequently interact with kids.
Boost your immune system
Bolster your immunity with the help of supplements and whole foods. Proper nutrition is vital if you want to avoid catching what's going around. Consider including Now Vegan Supplements Echinacea Capsules in your regular supplementation routine. Echinacea has been shown to increase immunity, and folks rarely experience side effects when taking it.
Don't forget to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, too. If you struggle to add whole foods to your plate, try juicing with the Breville Juicer Fountain and reap the benefits of consuming nutrient-dense foods in an easy-to-digest format.
Purify your surroundings
The air in your home is stale -- especially during the winter. Think about all those infectious particles floating around your indoor environment. Yuck! Do something to purify the air you breathe by outfitting your most-used spaces with a Guardian Technologies Air Purifier. The device can zap intrusive germs from the air along with potentially harmful dust particles and mold spores, which aren't good for your immunity.
Clean your hands
Aside from making a flu shot appointment, the easiest way to avoid infection (and the spread of germs) is to wash your hands. Touch a germy surface, and you're instantly at risk of infection. It only takes a moment to transfer the virus from your dirty hands to the inside of your body. Stock your bathroom with Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap, which cleanses and conditions the skin.
When you're away from home, sanitize your hands while running errands, taking public transit, or while at the gym using EO Hand Sanitizer Spray -- toss one in your handbag or gym tote for an all-day backup soap option. Since it comes in a pack of six, there's enough for everyone in the family to have their own; send some with your kids to school, and be sure to bring one whenever you travel.
Germs are likely hiding out on surfaces around your home, even if they appear relatively clean. Use Green Works Wipes daily to clean frequently touched surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. The wipes are compostable and are made from naturally derived ingredients, so you can feel good about using them liberally.
Hydrate with filtered water
Quench your thirst throughout the day by drinking from a Brita Filtering Water Bottle. Regular hydration is an essential component of a healthy body. The insulated bottle has a built-in filter to make sure the water you're drinking is clean and pure, plus it keeps the filtered water cold for up to 24 hours and features a handy built-in straw.
Humidify your surroundings
According to a recently published study, dry air is the flu virus's best friend. Keeping your environment at a healthy humidity level not only keeps the flu virus at bay, but it also helps should you become infected -- dry air hampers the body's ability to expel the virus. We like the TaoTronics Ultrasonic Humidifier because it creates inhospitable conditions for the flu but a cozy environment for us, and it's small and quiet enough to go anywhere, whether on our desk at the office or on our bedside table at home.
Stock your home well
Keep easily accessible tissue packs around the house to help stifle sneezes and sniffles when you have kids or loved ones around you who are under the weather -- let them catch their own germs before they get into the air you're breathing. We love the Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissues because they're ultra soft and contain a lotion additive that moisturizes irritated skin.
Get a good night's sleep
When we shut our eyes for the night, we enter a period of rest that allows our body to repair itself. Skimping on sleep will decrease your immunity and increase your chances of contracting the flu virus. A tired, stressed body is a vulnerable one. Invite quality sleep and reduce stress with the soothing scent of lavender and the help of a DreamTime Spa Comforts Eye Pillow. The pillow blocks out light and is filled with a stress-busting herb blend.
It's a drastic measure, but if you're hell-bent on avoiding the flu virus, wearing gloves when interacting with others is a reliable way to prevent infection. Have a pack of MedPride Nitrile Gloves on hand not just for flu season but for cleaning chores, outdoor tasks, and more. Regardless of whether you choose to don gloves or not, keep close contact with flu-saddled loved ones to a minimum.
What to do if you get the flu
So you've been infected. No need to panic -- here's how to deal with the flu effectively so you can get back on your feet in no time.
Let yourself rest and relax
Snuggle up in our favorite blanket of all time, the UGG Bliss Plush Sherpa Fleece, while you marathon the latest Netflix series. Keep the rest of your flu-battle supplies nearby, but don't pass up any opportunity to doze off and allow your body to recuperate.
Call in sick. We know, you've got so much to do -- you have deadlines, you have a crazy workload, you only have a few sick days (or maybe none!). But asking your body to work hard when it's fighting off sickness is asking for trouble, as physical stress will only serve to extend the length of your illness. Your co-workers will thank you, by the way.
Soothe troublesome flu-related muscle aches with the help of pain medication like Tylenol Extra Strength to make sure you're able to get the sleep and respite you need. Pop a capsule to lower any flu-associated fever, too.
Avoid sinus pain and discomfort by taking Sudafed PE Maximum Strength (after you talk to your doctor to make sure this nasal decongestant is safe for you). The formula is non-drowsy and helps relieve sinus pressure resulting from the flu. Sudafed will also help reduce headache pain associated with congestion.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.