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Fall has arrived, and winter is knocking at the door – before you know it, you start to feel a scratchy sore throat and stuffy nose coming on. The cooler air can often affect our immune systems and increase our susceptibility to colds and flu.

Besides getting some of the basics down (like washing your hands, cleaning correctly, and getting a flu shot), when it comes to preventing colds and flu this season, it’s all about focusing on taking care of yourself and supporting immune health. Meanwhile, with COVID, taking good care of yourself is not enough stress.

Here are five ways to prevent you from getting sick during the transition to cold weather.

1. Get enough sleep 

Sleep is crucial for overall health, including your immune system, your first line of defense this flu season.

“The best way to avoid getting sick is to go into cold and flu season as healthy as possible. That means, first and foremost, getting enough sleep. Skipping out on regular sleep is one of the most common ways we run ourselves down,” says  Jaclyn Tolentino, a physician at Parsley Health Los Angeles.

Sleep habits and duration directly influence both mental and physical health. One study even showed that those who slept less than 7 hours per night were up to 3 times more susceptible to catching a cold than those who slept more than 7 hours. So, try to create a sleep schedule and stick to it.

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2. Eat Healthy 

Fueling your body with the proper vitamins and nutrients can do wonders. Keeping a well-balanced diet and incorporating vitamin-rich foods can help build a stronger immune system—one of the biggest aides in preventing the cold or flu is citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. Citrus fruits are extremely beneficial in preventing a cold due to their high concentration of vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells in our bodies, which plays a critical role in preventing and fighting off viruses, so when in doubt, drink some orange juice.

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3. Manage Stress 

Stress can really take a toll on your body and health, which is why it’s important to try to manage stress in a healthy way during cold and flu season.

The fall and winter seasons can be hard on our bodies, and when you factor in things like work-related stress and holiday bustle and anxiety, these things can really make us more susceptible to illness. The most impactful thing you can do to prevent a cold or flu this year is simply to take good care of yourself.

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4. Avoid Hand Dryer In Public Places

You’d have to have been living under a rock for the past two years not to know the importance of sanitisation. Stay away from dryers that circulate warm air in the room since it is a prime culprit for spreading germs. Also, make sure to clean your phone and the surface around you frequently.

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5. Take Vitamins 

Vitamins can play a huge role in keeping the flu in winter at bay. Vitamin D is the essential wonder vitamin you need in your body. Vitamin D has a very specific role in your immune system; low levels increase your risk of various infections. It also optimises muscle and bone strength and many other important bodily functions.

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