Fall is a time for change. The weather gets colder. Kids go back to school. These things and more are the reason Sept-Nov is considered cold and flu season. No one wants to get sick, it’s awful. It’s also largely outside of our control. Here are a few things you can do to get ready.

Preventative Care

You can’t flat out prevent yourself from catching a cold (no matter what your CrossFit coach says). What you can do is take steps to bolster your immune system.

You can start by getting a flu shot. Again, it’s not a 100% assurance that you won’t get the flu. It does, however, decrease your likelihood by 40-60 percent. That’s not a terrible figure considering the flu is much worse than the common cold. They aren’t hard to find either. Many large pharmacy general stores now offer them.

There’s no magic bullet for colds, unfortunately. A healthy lifestyle helps a lot (Your CrossFit coach is right about that). Minerals like Zinc make it more difficult for mucus to attach in your sinuses, alleviating that symptom at least. There’s a myth that vitamin C helps fights colds. While it isn’t entirely true, it does come from the fact that vitamin C can help fortify your immune system. That ship has sailed once you’re already sick, though.

Wash Your Hands

Not much to this one. Wash your hands.

A lot.

Also, try not to touch your face. You’ll realize how much you actually do it when have to make the effort not to.

Hand sanitizer can help a lot too. Consider asking your boss to get some for the office. Definitely, have some around the house and for personal use.

Be Prepared

You don’t want to need a bunch of supplies you don’t have when you’re already sick. Make sure you have cold medicine, tissues, and the other essentials before you get sick. You’ll be happy you don’t have to make a trip to the store when you feel like garbage.

Make an Action Plan

If you have kids, they are probably going to get sick. Those are just the facts. Make sure you know your job’s policy on sick days. If it’s not a particularly favorable one for you, see if you can find someone you trust to take care of sickie while you’re at work.

If you happen to be the one that gets sick (which will probably happen, too), the kids will still need to eat and go to this practice or that club. If you come up with an action plan while you’re healthy, you won’t be scrambling when you’re sick.

Take it Easy

Don’t feel guilty about resting. Yes, you have a lot of responsibilities, and yes, you may need to put some of them down for a little while. It’s the only way you’re going to get better. Trying to act like you aren’t sick when you are is only going to prolong your sickness. All those responsibilities will be there when you get better.

As a matter of fact, lack of rest is a huge contributor to getting sick in the first place. You don’t have to feel bad about carving out downtime. It’s far less productive to go non-stop and then be sidelined by a cold or the flu than it is to just get enough sleep in the first place.

You are now prepared for the minefield of germs that is cold and flu season. Sadly, you’re still probably going to get sick. Hopefully, these tips will help soften the experience. Good luck!