While so much of the public is focusing on Ebola, there’s a much more common, highly contagious virus ready to rip though the nation: influenza. Every year, as many as one in five Americans get the flu, and roughly 200,000 wind up in the hospital because of it. In an especially bad flu season, almost 50,000 people will die. But more often than not, influenza just makes your life a living hell for a week or so, causing everything from nausea to deep chills to crippling body aches.
Catching a cold is no picnic either. The common cold usually isn’t too serious, but it can turn you into sneezing, coughing, achy, energy-zapped, watery-eyed mess. And just like the flu, it’s super contagious and spreads like wildfire once the cold weather sets in and everyone starts holing up indoors.
Short of quarantining yourself for the winter or sporting a hazmat suit 24/7, you can’t completely shield yourself from the nasty sea of viruses that’s about to start swirling. But there are plenty of things you can do – starting right now – to prep for cold and flu season and slash your chances of getting sick.