10 Tips on How to Stay Healthy Through Cold and Flu Season


It’s that time of year when everyone starts to get sick and pass around their cold and flu germs. Having a chronic illness means that your immune system is already compromised, which makes picking up other people’s winter illnesses harder to avoid.

However, you don’t have to lock yourself away until spring, just heed some basic advice on how to keep those nasty germs at bay.

1. Get a Flu Shot: This is the most important and one of the easiest things you can do to avoid getting the flu. (Source: WebMD)

2. Limit Your Alcohol Intake: Drinking alcohol interferes with your sleep, meaning you’ll sleep less and the sleep you get will be of a poorer quality. You are more likely to succumb to colds and flus if you’re tired. (Source: health.com)

MORE: Drinking red wine polyphenols may actually help combat Parkinson’s disease

3. Drink Tea with Lemon and Honey: Ditch the milk and sugar and add honey and lemon to your cup of tea instead. The steam from the tea stimulates the tiny hair follicles in the nose to flush out germs. Honey (particularly manuka honey) is antibacterial and lemons are high in vitamin C and help thin mucus. (Source: health.com)

4. Sanitize Your Workspace: Keeping your workspace as clean as possible will help keep germs at bay. Use disinfectant to deep clean anything that people handle a lot: elevator buttons, chair armrests, microwaves, fridges, remote controls, photocopier machine buttons, door handles, shared computer keyboards, etc. (Source: health.com)

MORE: Mileha Soneji has designed some ingenious life hacks for Parkinson’s patients

5. Use Your Own Pens: Keep your own pens on you at all times. Then you won’t need to use shared pens at the bank, doctor’s office, or office reception. (Source: health.com)

6. Stop Biting Your Nails: Unless you  can guarantee that your nails are completely germ-free (which is unlikely no matter how often you wash your hands) then biting your nails is a sure-fire way for cold and flu germs to enter your body. (Source: prevention.com)

7. Wash Your Hands — A Lot!: The more you wash your hands, the less likely they are to harbor cold and flu germs. Aside from washing your hands after going to the bathroom, or before eating, you should also wash them after touching anything that lots of other people have touched. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer gel around with you if there are no washrooms. (Source: prevention.com)

MORE: Diane Hastings explains what it’s like living with young-onset Parkinson’s disease

8. Sweat More!: Work out at the gym, go for a run, or simply take a sauna — anything that makes you sweat. Sweating helps the body release toxins. (Source: health.com)

9. Look Out For Symptoms: Because you have a chronic disease, getting the flu is much more serious than the average person. Even a common cold or cough will affect you much worse than others. Be aware of early symptoms (sneezing, sore throat, aching muscles, headaches, slight fever) and act on them as soon as possible to minimize the effects. You can get more advice from your doctor. (Source: prevention.com)

10. Be as Healthy as Possible: Eat well, sleep well, avoid stress as much as possible and get plenty of exercise. Taking supplements such as vitamins C and D can help keep colds and flu at bay. The healthier you are in the first place, the less likely you are to catch winter colds and flu, or if you do catch them, you’ll be able to recover quicker. (Source: prevention.com)

MORE: Did you know that there’s an eye test that can help detect Parkinson’s before first symptoms show up?

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. David L. Keller, MD (PD patient) says:

    Sweat more? Sweat is purely a cooling mechanism. No toxins are excreted by sweat glands, only water and salt. Toxins are excreted into the urine by the kidneys, and into the stool, by the liver. What toxins do you believe are excreted in sweat? And, how would that affect susceptibility to viral infections? People with Parkinson’s tend to sweat more than normal due to autonomic dysfunction. Best to drink plenty of liquids to replace the water lost in sweat.

  2. Rhianna Hawk says:

    A lot of people in my office have been showing cold symptoms lately, and I really appreciate your tips for how to avoid catching it myself. Of course, I plan to get a flu shot soon, as you suggest, and get tested to see if I have a cold while I’m at the clinic. I knew that drinking honey and lemon was good for treating a cold, but I had no idea that it could help prevent it, as well, though it makes sense that the antibacterial elements in lemons that you mentioned would make a difference in that regard.

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