Fall is the time of year known for vibrant colors, crisp weather, pumpkin patches, and spiced cider — but it’s also known as the beginning of cold and flu season.
Whether you blame it on the changing weather patterns, the lack of daylight, or spending more time in close quarters with other people, getting sick can impact not just your health, but your wallet. Between missed work and medical costs, sickness can get expensive very quickly.
1. Get More Paranoid About Germs
You don’t have to be a germaphobe, but basic things like washing your hands frequently (for a full 20 seconds) — and using hand sanitizers, provide a first line of defense against getting sick. It’s also wise to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day.
2. Consider a Seasonal Flu Shot
Many employers will offer or pay for flu shots for their employees, and if you have public health insurance, the Affordable Care Act requires providers to pay for the cost. Seniors with Medicare Part B can get free flu shots, as well.
Even out of pocket, you can usually find flu shots for $15 or less from retail-store pharmacies, school programs, and health department clinics.
3. Take Preventative Care to Boost Your Immune System
There are also many natural, low-cost ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season — without buying into pricey immune-boosting OTC products. The first tip is to eat a whole food-based diet, exercise regularly, avoid unnecessary stress, and get enough sleep. Secondly, be sure you’re getting enough of these key nutrients through the foods you eat:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
4. When You Get a Cold, Save Money with Generics and Natural Remedies
We all know there’s no cure for the common cold, but many home remedies and basic medications can help you deal with the symptoms and recover faster.
With medications, remember that the effective ingredients are what matters — not the brand name. Don’t hesitate to try the store brand of an antihistamine or decongestant. If you’re not sure whether there are generics for a name brand drug, check with a pharmacist.
Natural remedies can also provide effective relief at very little expense: try a neti pot to relieve and prevent sinus infections, herbal teas to boost your immunity, and salt water gargling to relieve a sore throat. Hot soup also works wonders.
Cold and flu season may be here, but it doesn’t mean your health or finances need to suffer. Use these tips to prevent sickness, reduce your medical costs, and save money even when you do succumb to the common cold.
Article Source: Jessica Sommerfield for moneyning.com