The start of the cold weather isn’t just an unpleasant reminder that winter is coming. It also means we’ve officially entered cold and flu season. Unless you want to spend days holed up inside trying to fight an exhausting illness, you need to go out of your way to be more cautious and hygienic.
The Best Preventative Is Always a Flu Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), the best and most effective way to prevent the flu is to get an annual flu shot. The flu vaccine protects against the most common strains of the flu each year and can help the body develop antibodies to ward off the infection completely. Finding the particular strain that’s going to be dominant each year is a guessing game, however, and they don’t always get it right.
Note: Always consult your doctor before getting a flu shot. While it’s the best preventative for most people, certain people with chronic illnesses or specific allergies are advised to not get a flu shot.
Fortunately, there are other preventative methods you can and should take to stay as healthy as possible even when it feels like everyone around you is sick. Here are a few products that will help you do that.
To Use at Home: Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier
A good humidifier is worth investing in. A 2009 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that high humidity in the air can help kill any flu virus particles that might be lingering around your home, waiting to get you sick. More recent research from 2019 also shows that the flu virus is more prevalent in dry air, which is where a humidifier comes in. On top of that, the Mayo Clinic says that a humidifier can help with cold symptoms such as dry sinuses and bloody noses.
This Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier has a few features that make it a great purchase. It runs quietly enough so that it won’t disturb you while you’re sleeping, it has a large enough tank to run for about 24 hours, and the UV light helps kill bacteria that could be lurking. The water coming out evaporates quickly, eliminating dry air that could cause you or anyone in your home to get sick.
Honeywell HCM350B Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifer White
A humidifier can keep dry air at bay, which might help reduce the spread of the flu virus in your home.
To Keep Your Devices Clean: Tech Candy Clean Up Your Act Tech Wipey
Wash your hands and stay away from sick friends as much as you want—it won’t really matter if you never attempt to clean your phone or other devices. Research has shown that your cell phone has 10 times more germs than a toilet seat, which means it could very well make you sick.
Tech Candy Clean Up Your Act Tech Wipeys are easy to throw in your bag and take with you wherever you go to keep your phone clean. They’re unscented and packed with disinfectant that will quickly get rid of germs, dirt, and bacteria. And unlike other antibacterial wipes not made with tech items in mind, these also clean and remove fingerprints from screens. They work just as great with laptops, computers, and eyeglasses.
Tech Candy Clean Up Your Act Tech Wipey Phone Disinfectant Screen Cleaner Eyeglass Cleaner - 20CT Pack Tech Wipes for Cleaning Electronics
Your cell phone is absolutely full of disgusting germs that could get you sick. These wipes clean off the surface area and help keep your fingers clean.
To Keep in Your Bag: Olika 2-in-1 Hand Sanitizer Birdie Duo
According to the CDC, hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol is an effective way to kill germs and viruses when you aren’t able to wash your hands. The Olika 2-in-1 Hand Sanitizer is a unique take on a commonplace item. The top section features a hand sanitizing spray to use on the go. The bottom houses 10 cleansing wipes for when you really need to get clean.
Made with natural ingredients like essential oils and aloe vera, this is one hand sanitizer that keeps your hands soft and nourished after use, rather than dry and cracked. You can even opt for a monthly subscription to make sure you never run out.
Olika Birdie Duo, Robin's Egg, 0.7 Ounce
This bird-shaped hand sanitizer is both a sanitizing spray and a holder for cleansing wipes to keep you clean no matter where you are.
To Use on the Daily: Method Hand Soap
Hand sanitizer is excellent to have when you’re out and about, but there’s no substitute for actually washing your hands. Multiple studies, including one done in 2018 in Pediatrics, have found that washing your hands with a good antibacterial hand wash is more effective at killing viruses and bacteria, including the flu.
Method Hand Soap is simple and works well at keeping your hands clean. It’s also made with aloe vera and vitamin E to keep hands soft after washing, as well as a light fragrance that smells pleasant without being overwhelming.
Method Gel Hand Soap, Sweet Water, 12 oz, 1 pack, Packaging May Vary
Washing your hands is the best way to remove germs and bacteria, and this one is moisturizing as well.
To Take Regularly: Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C Capsules
Vitamin C shouldn’t be used in place of medication or antibiotics, but it might be helpful to take it as a supplement to try and prevent a cold. The vitamin is necessary for a strong immune system, healthy skin, and bone structure, and our bodies make it on their own. It hasn’t been scientifically proven that taking Vitamin C capsules can help prevent sickness, but according to Harvard Health, it has been shown to help reduce the risk in catching a cold in some studies.
Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C Capsules are an ideal option for 100% natural Vitamin C without all of the acidity that can sometimes bother someone’s stomach. Be sure to take it on a daily basis and not just when you feel like you’re getting sick—it won’t do anything if you don’t take it regularly.
Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C | 4 oz Powder | USDA Organic | Non-GMO | Vegan | 100% Natural Vitamin C with Organic Camu Camu Extract
Vitamin C might help strengthen your immune system if you take it every day. These capsules are easy to digest.
To Help Boost Your Immune System: Nature Made Elderberry Gummies
Elderberry is often thought of as a natural and effective way to boost your immune system and prevent colds and viruses. According to the Cleveland Clinic, small studies have shown that regular consumption of elderberry can help clear up flu-like symptoms quickly. While promising, it’s important to note that elderberry is not a substitution for the flu shot or medication prescribed by your doctor.
That said, if you like herbal remedies, there’s no harm in taking Nature Made Elderberry Gummies each day. These are made with vitamin C and zinc to help support your immune system and are free of artificial flavors. A plus? They’re raspberry flavored and literally taste like candy.
Nature Made Elderberry Gummies with Vitamin C & Zinc, 60 count to Help Support the Immune System
Not only are these Nature Made gummies delicious, they can also help boost your immune system to lessen cold symptoms.
To Take On-the-Go: Lysol Disinfectant Spray To Go
Hand sanitizer is great to have for your hands, but what about when you want to quickly clean the surface of a table you’re sitting at or an item you’re about to grab? That’s where Lysol Disinfectant Spray comes in. According to the CDC, disinfectant sprays work to clean germs off the surface of an item, which in turn lowers the risk of contracting something that will get you sick.
This travel-size bottle is much easier to carry around than a full-size bottle, and it works just as well as the larger size at killing harmful germs and bacteria no matter where you are.
Lysol Disinfectant Spray To Go, Crisp Linen, 1 Ounce
Make sure any surface you come into contact with is clean with this easy-to-use disinfectant spray.
To Wear in Public: Vogmask
If disinfecting your hands is the first step to preventing illness, then filtering the air you breathe would be a strong second. And for that, there’s nothing better than Vogmask. These masks use a microfiber particle filter to filter out inhaled particles up to 0.3 microns, which includes nearly all germs and other particulates. They also feature an ABS Resin exhale valve to make breathing easier.
Sure, it may look a little intense, but if you really want to make sure you don’t get sick this flu season, this is an excellent way to do it—especially for anyone with a weakened immune system or who might be around anyone who’s immunocompromised.
Vogmasks filter out particulates up to 0.3 microns, which should prevent you from breathing in most germs---including the flu virus.
To Add to Your Water Bottle: Rooted Plant-Based Wellness Shots
If the idea of supplements appeals to you, then consider adding some Rooted Plant-Based Wellness Shots into your water bottle once a day or so. These vegan, non-GMO powders come in a variety of flavors, like Turmeric, Orange, Ginger, and Black Pepper, to support your immune system and help you feel your best.
Again, something like this is never going to replace a flu shot or medication, but with ingredients like vitamin C and turmeric (which has been shown to help decrease inflammation), they’re certainly worth a shot (had to go for the pun here). On top of that, they taste good.
Turmeric Orange Ginger Plant Based Immunity Support Blend by Ryla - Superfood Juice Shot Powder, Juice Cleanse Alternative, Vitamin C 500mg, Turmeric Curcumin - 20 Packets
A Rooted wellness shot is a great way to boost your immune system, and make your water taste a lot less boring.
To Take the Moment You Start Coughing: Zarbee’s Naturals Complete Nighttime Cough Syrup + Immune
Sometimes, no matter what preventative measures you take, you end up with a cold or a cough that just won’t quit. The moment you start to feel like you have a cough coming on is the moment you want to start treating it. When you can’t head to the doctor, an over-the-counter cough medicine like Zarbee’s Naturals Complete Nighttime Cough Syrup is ideal.
This one is free of unnatural additives and is full of dark honey, as well as vitamins C and D and zinc to help support your immune system and stop that cough. The addition of melatonin will help you get a good night’s sleep, another trick to preventing illness from really taking hold.
Zarbee's Naturals Complete Nighttime Cough Syrup + Immune with Dark Honey, Real Elderberry, and Melatonin, 8 Ounce Bottle
Zarbee's Naturals cough syrup is made with natural ingredients and can help you stop coughing and get more sleep.