Viruses such as the flu and common cold can last 7–10 days, meaning symptoms like a stuffy nose, body aches, fatigue and a sore throat stick around for a while. Since antibiotics typically don’t work for viruses, it’s all about staying as healthy as possible. So how do we do it?
Keep it clean
We need to wash our hands often—in the bathroom, before eating, after work or activity—there’s no bad time! If warm water and soap aren’t available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative.
Support a high-functioning immune system
Your immune system is impacted by everything you do, from what you eat to your stress levels. This means that eating regular, balanced meals; hydrating with lots of water; and sleeping 7–9 hours each night all help strengthen your body. When you’re well-rested, well-resourced and well-nourished, you’re more capable of fighting off an infection.
Make it a priority: Stick to a bedtime, carry around a refillable water bottle and fill up on vitamin-dense fruits and vegetables. Finding time for light physical activity and sunshine is good for your health, too; take a walk with friends, toss around a Frisbee and open the blinds!
Practice good health habits
When we look out for each other, we all stay healthier in the long run. That’s why it’s important to wipe down communal surfaces like doorknobs and counters with disinfectant, cough and sneeze into your elbow or sleeve (but not hands, since hands touch everything) and stay home when you’re not feeling well.
If you still find yourself under the weather, try these tips: Drink warm liquids like tea to soothe a sore throat and stay hydrated, get extra rest to let your body recover and use over-the-counter remedies as appropriate to find relief. Your body works hard to fight off these viruses and get you back into peak condition, so be kind to it!
Remember those good health habits for all areas of life
When our mental health is cared for, our physical health follows. It’s important to take time to relax, organize your thoughts and find healthy ways to deal with everything you have going on.
Mindfulness practices such as journaling, de-stressing activities such as yoga and coping mechanisms such as talking with a trusted friend or family member can be just as important as washing your hands. Prioritizing self-care mentally and physically is key to a healthy, balanced spring and summer!