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5 Tips to Prevent the Cold and Flu

5 Tips to Prevent the Cold and Flu



How to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter (And Beyond)

There’s no way to guarantee you won’t catch a cold or come down with the flu this year, but you can take steps to protect yourself from getting sick.

Add these five tips to your routine this cold and flu season to have a greater chance of avoiding the sniffles or catching a cough.

1. Wash your hands frequently (and avoid touching your face)

The simple act of washing your hands is one of the best things you can do to prevent the cold and flu. Using warm water and soap, rub your hands vigorously together for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to get underneath your nails, too.

To further stop the spread of germs, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.

2. Make regular exercise a part of your cold-weather routine

According to data shared by WebMD, moderately exercising five days a week can reduce your risk of catching a cold by up to a third. Even 45 minutes of walking each day can do the trick. In another study cited by WebMD, women who took regular walks for 12 months straight had the most resistance to colds in the final quarter of the year.

Getting outside is ideal, but you can also get similar benefits from an at-home workout. For tips on how to get started with a home fitness routine during the colder months, read this article from the Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) blog archive.

3. Get an annual flu vaccine

Like hand washing, the flu vaccine is another time-tested way to avoid the worst flu symptoms. Getting a flu shot also helps protect other people who aren’t eligible to get their own vaccine, like the very old, very young, and very sick.

If you aren’t familiar with the flu shot and all of its benefits, learn more here.

4. Don’t skimp on sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, your health suffers. The negative effects of sleep deprivation can be especially damaging during cold and flu season, when your body already needs to fight harder to stay healthy.

5. Know when to call your doctor

Sometimes, you just need to prevent your cold and flu symptoms from worsening. In these cases, you should consider making an appointment with your primary care physician.

Signs that it’s time to schedule a doctor’s visit include:

  • A cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks.
  • A fever.
  • Sharp chest pains.
  • Shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties.

These aren’t the only symptoms that suggest you should see a medical provider, however. If you have any concerns it doesn’t hurt to call. Some health insurance providers even offer telehealth services, where you can connect with a doctor right from home. Before you do get sick, it’s a good idea to review your plan documents to see if this type of service is available.

RMHP Members have access to telehealth services through Doctor on Demand. Members enrolled in a Commercial plan can get care when and where they need it from a phone, tablet, or computer, 24/7 — and this service is particularly helpful when you feel too crummy to leave the house. Visit to learn more.