Stay Healthy, Save Money

You probably know someone who’s sick because we’re right in the middle of cold & flu season. And since illness usually means spending hard-earned cash on doctor visits and medications, staying healthy can save you money. Here are some tips:

Keep things clean

First and foremost, wash your hands regularly—especially before eating. Experts recommend using soap & warm water for 20 to 30 seconds, then thoroughly drying. Carry hand sanitizer for when you don’t have quick access to a faucet. But even when you think your hands are clean, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible, as those are direct ways for bacteria to enter your body.

Speaking of germs, ensure your surroundings are hygienic. After all, touching a dirty doorknob will negate all your hand-washing. You don’t have to become a germaphobe, but regularly using disinfectant wipes to clean keyboards, countertops, desks, light switches, and your phone this winter will help you avoid the nasty flu that’s going around.

Be on guard

It goes without saying that, in order to stay healthy, you should avoid contact with ill individuals. However, sometimes you can’t tell who is contagious and who isn’t. Whenever you share a sip of soda or a bite of your sandwich this time of year, you’re taking a risk. The same goes for grabbing candy out of a shared bowl at work or dipping your chip in some salsa at a party—you never know whose hands have been in there, so take the proper precautions to prevent illness.

Avoid large crowds whenever possible and, as strange as it may feel, resist shaking hands over the next couple months. If you do handle something used by the public such as a phone, cash or even a pen at a checkout counter, be sure to wash directly afterward.

Take care of yourself

When it comes to staying healthy, the best offense is a good defense. Stress and a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible. Get plenty of rest and find time to relax or meditate. You should also eat foods rich in vitamin C (strawberries, broccoli, oranges), vitamin D (eggs, cheese, yogurt) and vitamin E (sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach) to boost your immunity.

Exercise can also help, but if you’re suffering from fever, fatigue or coughing, you should take it easy. Drink plenty of fluids to flush the toxins from your body. Also, get some fresh air. We often shut ourselves in during the colder months and even opening a window for a little bit can help disperse indoor pollutants.

You may still get sick with these precautions, but keeping things clean, being on guard and taking care of yourself can drastically reduce your chances, which will in turn lessen your medical expenses during the cold & flu season.