You know those people with immune systems made of steel, that never so much as get a sniffle during cold & flu season? (sidenote: nope, I’m not one of them!) Being sick is the absolute pits, and I envy those iron men and women warriors even more this time of year, because you know what especially sucks when you’re bundled in 17 layers of clothing and surrounded by a million people? Having a coughing fit on the subway that’s so bad you actually accept a cough drop from an absolute stranger, and only later think that accepting digestible things from people on the train may not be among the smartest things you’ve ever done. But desperate times, right? (yep! true story, happened to me!)
So. I asked a few of those “I never ever get sick, ever” people what their secrets to surviving the season are (besides get the flu shot and wash your hands, cause I think we’re all pretty aware of those by now, yeah?) Here’s their tips:
I feel the need to run to the bathroom just reading that, but keeping hydrated is the number one “don’t get sick” rule everyone swears by.
2. Don’t Over Schedule Yourself
All the New Yorkers are rolling their eyes at this one, I know. But exhausting yourself is a sure fire way to get your immune system really tired, too. So instead of packing your weekends and evenings full of activities to keep yourself from seasonal depression (come on already, spring!), carve plenty of time to just chill in the comfort (and cleanliness!) of your own apartment.
3. Don’t Touch Things
I worked with a woman once who would always open doors with a tissue or hanky, and wore gloves whenever she was on the subway (even in the summer, but the thin ones!) While, yes, this can quickly label you as the office germaphobe, here’s a little secret: in the 3 years I knew her, she was never out sick once. Healthy as a horse, that one!
4. “Neck Check” Before Working Out
It’s well-known that keeping fit during the winter can ward off getting sick, but if you’re starting to feel a bit under the weather, do a “neck check” before engaging in even light physical activity. If the symptoms are ABOVE your neck (stuffy nose, sneezing, mild sore throat), a light workout is fine. But if you’re feeling crappy BELOW your neck (body aches, chills, fever), skip the workout entirely and get in bed.
5. Make Yourself An Emergency Kit
You know what’s totally NOT fun? Running to Duane Reade AFTER you’ve started feeling awful. Walking around the drugstore like a zombie is nobody’s idea of a swell time. So, load up on cold and flu essentials before the season gets in full swing, and keep them with you in case you (or a colleague, friend, or random stranger on the subway!) needs something. A few essentials to keep in your baggie are: Airborne (because prevention!), tissues, nasal spray, cough drops, hand sanitizer, and a feel-better drug (like Dayquil!) to get you through the day.
And a special cold and flu treat for our readers! We’re partnering with P&G and hosting a giveaway valued at $55, including $50 AMEX gift cards plus Puffs boxes and Vicks coupons. Exciting right?! Simply leave a comment below telling us your tips for staying well (and sane!) during cold and flu season. Bonus points for tweeting out your response using the hashtags #NYTough and #ColdandFlu (just be sure to tag us so we see, @UsedYorkCity.)
The giveaway will end on March 15th, and winners will be notified via email. Best of luck!