In 1918 the infamous influenza epidemic swept across the United States killing an estimated 500,000 young adults. It’s an event that often gets scant attention in history books, especially as the horrors on the battlefields of World War I overshadowed the scale of its impact.

Desperate to stem the flu epidemic, Americans adopted all sorts of crazy schemes. Some of the more popular remedies included rubbing bacon grease on the abdomen or wearing vinegar packs around one’s waist! Needless to say, these ideas didn’t work because it was not yet understood how viruses were transmitted.

Nearly 100 years later, the scientific community has learned vastly more about diseases and our immune systems. And yet, many of us fail to employ the most basic of measures to avoid catching a cold or the flu. We assume that since there’s no cure for the common cold, there’s nothing we can do, but getting sick does not have to be a foregone conclusion.

You DO NOT have to be sick.

It’s no longer the early 20th century! Here are some essential steps you can take to stay healthy this winter.

Wash Your Hands all the time

Washing your hands frequently and often will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. In flu season, get obsessive about it. Every time you touch a doorknob or any other mundane object outside of your home, you should wash your hands.

Don’t Go Out

This piece of advice sounds rougher than it really is. No one expects you to put your life on hold during cold or flu season and sequester yourself inside your home. But the truth is, every time you go out in public you’re placing yourself at risk, because someone else has not been vigilant about their health. Every restaurant, movie or department store you visit may have a coughing, hacking person nearby. This increases the odds you’ll be next.

But I have to go out!

Some congested public spaces are unavoidable. If you have to take the subway to work, for instance, you have little choice in placing yourself in crowded spaces. Try wearing a face mask.  You won’t look foolish, and people will not stare at you as if you were. Instead, people are likely thinking, “That’s a smart idea. I wish I had thought of that.”

In addition to common sense practices, don’t forget to take Royal Velvet from The Healthy Protocol, LLC. It can play an essential part in helping keep you healthy and strong during the worst of the Cold and Flu Season.

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