Why does that pesky throat tickle and persistent cough always appear right as the holidays are coming around the corner? It’s like mother nature doesn’t want us to attend every sporting event and Halloween party that comes our way in autumn!
In reality, there are scientific reasons explaining why fall often comes hand-in-hand with nasty coughs. The cold season starts in September, flu season starts to ramp up in October, and seasonal allergies rear their ugly heads as the weather changes.
Although we can’t change any of those trends, there are things we can do to prevent coughs from popping up right at the coziest, most exciting time of the year. Here are the top three tips for keeping coughs at bay during the upcoming months.
Practice Safe Habits – Especially Away From Home
You’re probably sick and tired of hearing people tell you to wash your hands in an effort to prevent illness. Unfortunately, that’s truly one of the best ways to prevent yourself (and your family) from experiencing a nasty cough during this time of year.
The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that washing your hands for 20 seconds at a time can make a significant difference in your chances of developing a cold or catching the flu. Other safe health habits include:
- Wiping down your desk at work or school regularly.
- Avoiding touching germ-covered items such as doorknobs and handles whenever possible.
- Staying away from people who are sick and coughing.
- Keeping your hands away from your face, especially when they’re not clean.
Another B-I-G thing you can do to avoid a bad flu-related cough is to get your influenza vaccine. Most people don’t start to think about the vaccination until October, when the first serious cases begin to pop up. But the flu shot can take two weeks or so to start protecting your body.
Now is the time to think about getting immunized.
To find out where you can get your flu vaccine ASAP, visit the CDC’s free flu vaccine finder.
Avoid Irritants at Home That Can Trigger Allergies and Asthma
If you experienced bad allergies last spring, chances are, you’re going to have a rough time again this fall.
Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger at this time of year, and it typically begins releasing its pollen in August. About 75 percent of people who have allergic reactions to plants during the spring are also allergic to ragweed, so arm yourself with antihistamines and tissues!
Another villain in the autumn allergy landscape is mold. If old leaves are clogging up your gutters or parts of your lawn, fungi may be breeding there. Now’s the time to exterminate all of the moisture and dark spaces that make perfect homes for mold.
Additionally, you may want to think about the last time you cleaned your air filters or checked on your heating system. You’re about to start warming the house as temperatures drop, and the last thing you want to do is circulate dirty air that can trigger sneezes and wheezes. It turns out that your home’s heating can affect your health if you’re not careful.
To make sure your home’s air is safe to breathe and easy on your family’s lungs, contact your HVAC Company for a seasonal inspection. They’ll make sure that everything is in tip-top shape before you begin using your heating system regularly.
Don’t Let the Busy Season Run Your Family Down
We’re entering the busiest (and arguably the most stressful) time of the year. Although Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the other holidays are still a few months away, most of us are juggling big autumn work deadlines, school events, extracurriculars, and dozens of other obligations.
Did you know that nagging coughs can actually be triggered by mental factors such as stress?
Harvard health found that coughing can actually increase during times of stress. When you couple your busy autumn schedule with the increase in illnesses, you’re at high risk for coughs.
Don’t let the hustle and bustle of fall overrun your family. Try to minimize the chaos of your schedule and make sure that everyone still has time to sleep, eat, and take care of their bodies. If you need to establish at least one day a week, that’s a “free” day where everyone can catch up and de-stress.
It’s not just in your head – the season of fall does increase your chances of hacking and wheezing. Fortunately, the aforementioned tips can help you avoid breathing problems and focus on the enjoyable parts of the season instead.
Do yourself a favor and get your flu shot, practice hygienic habits, clean your home’s air, and take care of your body and mind.
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