To help keep you in top health, our experts recommend these steps:
- Fortify with food. Healthy foods—fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains—support a strong immune system, while excessive added sugars, fat, and alcohol can impair immunity. Aim to lower your susceptibility to colds and flu (influenza) with good nutrition. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
- Keep bugs at bay. There are no over-the-counter or prescription medications proven to prevent colds and flu, so save these products for when you’re sick. Instead practice good hygiene—wash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes—to keep the viruses at bay. Select Medicines, above, for more information.
- Mobilize your motivation. Consider purchasing a tool, such as a pedometer, to track daily steps taken. Regular physical activity is a true immune booster, and anything you do to help yourself get fit can bolster your resistance to colds and flu. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life.
Our experts recommend the following tips to support your recovery from colds and flu:
- Turn to your honey. Raw (unpasteurized) honey has antimicrobial properties and may help lessen coughs and improve sleep in people with colds. Never give honey to babies under 12 months old. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
- Value your vitamins. Vitamin C and zinc (lozenges) can help shorten duration of colds, while echinacea and elderberry extract may speed recovery from flu. Select Vitamins, above, for more information.
- Care for the with caution. The FDA recommends that children under two years never be given medications for cold or flu symptoms. The risk of harm outweighs any benefit. For older children, follow label instructions carefully, and do not give children medication intended for adult use. Select About, and Medicines, above, for more information.
- Control your environment.
For both kids and adults, humidifiers and vaporizers in the bedroom at night can soothe dry sinuses and ease cold or flu symptoms. Select Personal Care, above, for more information.