silver-wrapped gift boxes tied with a bright red bow

7 ways to stay healthy during the holidays.

how to prevent colds, flu, and other illnesses.

This season, your immune system needs all the help it can get. It’s up against new strains of the flu, around 200 different cold viruses,1 and COVID-19 variants that can fool you into thinking you only have cold symptoms.

Making your health a priority can help you avoid getting sick in the middle of festivities and your busy schedule. Click here to see the difference between cold symptoms and flu symptoms.

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Did you know?

Respiratory infections happen more often in the winter (a.k.a.: Cold & Flu season) for two reasons: Viruses thrive in cold weather when the humidity is lower, and we also spend more time indoors in close contact with each other.2

  • 2

To boost your immune system and keep the celebration going, here are 7 ways to stay healthy this holiday season.

Wash your hands before, during, and after the party.

wash hands

Spread more season and less sickness during gatherings and all those holiday hugs by practicing good hygiene habits: avoid touching your face, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze (with a tissue or the inside of your elbow), and frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

If you do get sick with cold or flu symptoms, see a doctor in less than 15 minutes:

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Drink a cup or two of water when you wake up.

water bottle

Your body needs to stay adequately hydrated to fight off infections, including colds and flu.3 Sip water throughout the day and add antioxidant-rich teas, broths, fruit smoothies, or other healthy liquids to count toward your intake. Eating foods with higher water content, like cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, berries, and lettuces, also help keep you hydrated. Not sure how much water you need? Click here to find out.

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Eat foods in a rainbow of colors.

bag of groceries

Yes, Christmas cookies come in every color, but we’re talking about colorful, vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits. Aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits before adding lean protein, whole grains, and heart-healthy oils, like avocado and olive oils. Red fruits have different phytonutrients than green vegetables or yellow fruits, so adding plenty of colors to your plate increases your antioxidant intake.

Find one thing that reduces your stress.

lightning strikes

We all have stress, and it can often increase during the holidays. But lowering your stress levels can reduce your risk of heart disease and other illnesses – including cold and flu. Find at least one strategy that can help reduce stress, like mindfulness or cultivating gratitude. If you need ideas, here are 5 ways to practice positive thinking and reduce chronic stress.

Get support and learn coping skills with MDLIVE mental health therapy.

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Set a recurring ‘appointment’ on your phone to exercise.

sneaker runs on a road

Commit to keeping your appointment with yourself to get some fitness time in, even if it’s only for a few minutes to start. Moving throughout the day is best, but even walking a few times a week improves your physical and mental health, reduces stress, and boosts your immune system. And if you normally sit for long periods of time, get up and move around, stretch, or walk for a few minutes every hour.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

crescent moon sleeping

Your body needs to heal and repair during sleep, and a consistent sleep pattern can help reduce your chance of getting sick. Most adults need at least 7 hours. Staying off the phone or other electronics in the few hours before your bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and get deeper, more healing sleep through the night.

Here are more tips for establishing a healthy sleep routine and getting better sleep.

Get vaccinated.

needle and medication

If you’re attending holiday gatherings, protect yourself and others from the flu and COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Because childhood vaccines wear off over time, the CDC publishes an updated list of the vaccines you need as an adult.

No one wants to get sick, especially during the holidays. Focusing on even one of these healthy habits at a time can give your immune system the strength it needs to keep you healthier – and protect others around you.

But, if you do get sick, talk to an MDLIVE doctor in less than 15 minutes, 24/7/365, including weekends and holidays. An MDLIVE board-certified doctor can help you feel better faster from the comfort and safety of home so you can get back to your family, friends, and holiday fun.

Confusing and similar symptoms between cold, flu, allergies, and COVID-19 make it difficult know what’s causing your cold and flu symptoms. If you’re concerned, get your cold and flu care questions answered here and see a board-certified MDLIVE doctor in just minutes for more than 80 common conditions, including:

  • Allergies
  • Cold & Flu
  • Cough
  • COVID-19
  • Ear Pain
  • Headache
  • Insect Bites
  • Prescriptions
  • Pink Eye
  • Rash
  • Sinus Problems
  • Sore Throat
  • UTI (Adults Females, 18+)
  • Yeast Infections
  • And more

Posted date: December 16, 2021

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