This post is in partnership with Trane Residential but all words and selections are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands we love that support the blog.
Luckily I have dodged the perils of cold and flu season so far, but I feel it lurking around every corner. When a friend goes down, I am always good to stop by with soup… but I might leave it on your doorstep and run. And when the kids get sick, I tend to their every need, only to wash my hands once or twice after every hot tea delivery and temperature taking.
In regular life, I swear I’m not a germaphobe. Really, I’m not. But when it comes to cold and flu season, I don’t mess around. Staying healthy means I’m able to do everything I need to do— work, travel, shuttle kids back and forth, make hearty dinners— and take care of members of my gang who might get sick.
Getting sick myself? Nearly out of the question.
So for me, cold and flu prevention is to be thought about holistically and ahead of time. No, you can’t control the fact that all kinds of disgusting germs are going to be circling in the air around you for the next several months (ew). You can, however, boost your body and home defenses to try to protect yourself from the ick that threatens your happiness with days of bedridden misery.
Trane Residential, who partnered on this post with me, can help too. Read on to see how their smart thermostats can keep the temperature ideal for a healthier indoor air quality and a system that can help pull tons of those germs out of the air. Start with these five smart strategies below, and you’ll be putting your best foot forward during cold and flu season.
WASH YOUR HANDS… THE RIGHT WAY
Don’t even roll your eyes. Yes, this one is obvious, but most people cheat in terms of washing their hands often and thoroughly enough. And while it’s simple, it’s also one of the most scientifically sound ways to prevent the spread of germs. How to do it right? Water, soap, and 20 solid seconds (count, seriously!) of scrubbing. In between, keep your hands away from your face. If germs happen to linger on your fingers, they won’t necessarily cause an issue until you thoughtlessly rub your eyes or brush your nose, for instance.
Again, I’m not the biggest germaphobe, but I have become MUCH more conscious of what I touch when I’m out in public, and I’m trying (TRYING!) to teach my kids that they don’t have to hold every railing, and that they can push the bathroom door open while holding a Kleenex. It’s the little things that just might make a difference between “all good” and missing a few days of school.
CLEAN THE AIR, CONTROL THE TEMP
Trane’s Connected Thermostat helps you save money on heating bills and maximize coziness. It also helps keep you and your family healthy. Some research suggests, for instance, that if the temperature in your nose is too low, your body might not fight viruses as well, and that super cold air might in inhibit mucus and hairs in your nose from keeping germs out of your body. (shout out to mucus and nose hairs— the good guys!) A smart thermostat like Trane’s allows you to keep your house at the perfect warm temp 24/7, without having to remember to even press a button.
Trane’s CleanEffectsTM Air Cleaner can be added to your Trane system to provide even more ways to stop a cold in its tracks. It removes 99.98% of harmful bacteria and allergens to keep you healthier and let you breathe easier— it’s even been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. HEPA filters are great at trapping dust mites, mildew and other stuff floating in the air, but they get clogged over time and let less air circulate. CleanEffects technology can reduce the presence of all that junk in your air, while keeping the air flowing freely, keeping you more comfortable (and sick-free).
BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY DURING MEALS
There isn’t a lot of conclusive evidence that eating one exact food or kind of diet will protect you from getting sick, but if you eat healthy overall, your body is going to be able to fight off illness more effectively. Think of it this way: Do you want your body to use it’s reserves to tackle that incoming bug, or be so busy dealing with that late-night take-out episode that it misses it?
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is key. Focusing on a healthy gut is also smart. That means minimizing simple carbs, maximizing fiber, and eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi. A large portion of your immune system is in your GI tract, so keeping your gut happy is a great idea.
MINIMIZE STRESS AND MAXIMIZE SLEEP
Seriously, who hasn’t had the experience of feeling totally run down by a crazy work situation or life trauma…and then ending up sick? Research shows stress really is associated with a weakened immune system. One great way to manage stress? Get enough sleep! If you get in your seven to eight hours a night, you’re better able to manage stressors throughout the day.
That Trane Connected Thermostat can help too: Fluctuating temperatures can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, and a smart thermostat will make sure that the temperature stays at your ideal setting throughout the night. In fact, it’s possible to schedule a cozier temp when you settle into bed and then lower it later in the night to avoid becoming too warm (it’s like they KNOW me!)
GET A FLU SHOT
Another simple tip to end on, and this one’s actually easier than mastering hand washing, since you only have to do it once. You’re likely to hear all kinds of reasons for not getting a flu shot, like the fact that it only protects against certain strains of the flu (correct) or that some people get sick from the shot (also correct). The truth is that despite all of those arguments, evidence still shows it’s the most effective way to protect yourself (and maybe more importantly, vulnerable people around you, like babies, or the elderly) from nasty flu viruses.
Tell Alexa to put it on your calendar, okay?
How are you staying well this season? Let me know in the comments!