As the weather begins to change, and more and more people are staying inside, the chance of catching a cold or the flu rises. No one wants to be stuck sniffling the days away or inside at home not feeling well. There are plenty of tips and habits to help keep away the cold during flu season. 

1. Wash your hands. Always.

JAR [O] | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

JAR [O] | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Hands are the number one way germs are spread. Whenever the chance is available, wash your hands. As simple as it may sound, soap and warm water can be the deciding factor in health. When washing your hands, be sure to scrub the backs, under the nails and in between fingers.

Sleepers on Campus

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2. Get enough sleep

 

Our bodies need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to stimulate an immune response from our cells that attack viruses. Sleep can be the most reliable defense against infection, even if it is just a power nap here and there.

3. Eat protein

Image via Michael Stern, Flickr Creative Commons

Image via Michael Stern, Flickr Creative Commons

Increase your intake of protein. Protein helps the body produce immune cells, which help fight infection. Adding just a little protein here and there to your diet can help. Easy, on-the-go, high-in-protein snacks, such as string cheese, a hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt and protein bars, can give you the extra boost you need.

4. Stay hydrated

STEVEN DEPOLO | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

STEVEN DEPOLO | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Being well-hydrated can prevent illnesses, but it can also alleviate cold and flu symptoms. Drinking more fluids can boost the immune system. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

5. Exercise

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Exercise is a great way for the body to increase natural virus-killing cells. Exercising regularly can improve the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Treat exercise as if it were free medicine.

6. Get a flu shot

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERING | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERING | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to avoid contracting and spreading the flu. When vaccinated for the flu, people are 60 percent less likely to need treatment for the flu. The BYU-Idaho Health Center offers flu shots for all students and faculty. Students who are on the Student Health Plan can receive the shot for free. Students who are on a private health plan can receive the shot for $20.

7. Don’t touch your face

ANNA GUTERMUTH | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

ANNA GUTERMUTH | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Viruses can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Touching your face is one of the major ways to get sick.

8. Keep your space clean

Students often live together in shared apartments as roommates at BYU-Idaho. According to Brown University’s health education website, preventing conflict with a roommate is all about communicating beforehand. ABBY JACKSON | Photo Illustration

ABBY JACKSON | Photo Illustration

One way to keep germs at bay is by having a clean living space. Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Disinfect even if it looks clean. Try to clean spaces that are often touched by others. Even a wipe down of your phone will help.