What Our Staff Uses to Stay Healthy During Cold + Flu Season

Shop the products we rely on to keep our families free of sickness during the fall and winter.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
January 29, 2020

It starts innocently — a mild cough, sniffling, a throat tickle — but colds can quickly turn into full-blown infections. According to the CDC, three to 11 percent of the population gets the flu every year with "flu season" peaking in February. (Buckle up, y'all.)

So, how do you stave off nasty symptoms in the first place? Getting a flu shot and plenty of sleep are the best options. Outside of that though, we've found some other pretty effective ways to keep illness at bay. While we're not medical professionals and don't claim to be, these are our personal go-tos for preventing those winter bugs.


"There is [...] no conclusive evidence that zinc prevents or shortens colds, but I am convinced that if I take it at the first throat tickle it will help push the cold away. I use a liquid that I put in orange juice. It tastes foul, and I'm the only one in my family that will do it. But I'm a believer." - Jillian St. Charles, SVP Digital Programming

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"I used to get sick pretty much every time I flew until my friend recommended drinking Emergen-C. Since I've started the ritual of drinking one the night before my flight and another a few hours before, I haven't gotten sick a single time. I mix a packet with 12 ounces of room temperature water. I prefer cherry flavor, but all the flavors are good!" - Farima Alavi, Editorial Assistant

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"The whole family takes this daily drop of D3/K2 to help boost our immune systems! The sad truth is we just don't get as much natural sunlight in the winter months and supplementing with this seems to be an easy replacement for that natural Vitamin D. Plus, I can add it to my kids' milk or juice with no fuss involved." - Melissa Woodward, Digital Content Coordinator

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"I store one of these bottles everywhere I can - my car, diaper bag, kid's room and office drawer. As soon as we get in the car from the grocery store or school, I soak my hands and my son's in this natural hand sanitizer. I trust any product by Dr. Bronner's to be safe, effective and pleasantly scented. So far, we've avoided the flu!" - Molly Miller, Assistant Editor

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"Turmeric is not only supposed to be anti-inflammatory, but making your own golden milk latte will just make you feel instantly better. It's warm and comforting and always seems to make my sore throat feel better, faster." - Ashlyn Kittrell, Social Media Assistant Editor

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"I use these. Lots of them." - Mariel Clark, Editorial VP

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"I don't use a particular product, but I do make sure I drink and eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods like orange juice, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Knock on wood, I've never had the flu in my life and nobody in my house has caught it this year." - Chelsea Faulkner, Editor

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"I find it's easier to keep my kids diligent about washing their hands if I let them each pick their favorite hand soap scent. I buy Bath and Body Works combo packs. BBW soaps have, in my experience, a pretty heavy scent that lasts for a while. The kids really like that since they picked their own scents. My personal favorite is vanilla coconut, which smells like neither vanilla nor coconut. It smells a little bit like Play-Doh to me honestly, but I inexplicably love it." - Jillian St. Charles

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"When I'm flying I wipe down the arm rests, the seat belt, the screen, the window (if I lean up against it) and the tray [...] I grab a bunch from my container at home, put them in a resealable bag and keep them close by. I also from time to time wipe down the bottom of my laptop, the handles on my luggage and wash my reusable water jug and coffee cups as much as possible." — Michele Purcell, Executive Producer

Psst, Food Network loves these, too!

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"I looked around for a while to find a certified organic version of this, and this was the one that was best-reviewed and most widely available. Whenever I feel the familiar tickle at the back of my throat, I take this for a few days and sleep a little more than extra. Since I started keeping this on hand, I've been sick fewer times a year than ever before." - Ashlyn Kittrell

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How to Make Immune-Boosting Elderberry Syrup

Power through cold and flu season with this homemade remedy.


"I'm a big fan of hand sanitizing spray year-round, and not just for hands. I'll hit my keys, steering wheel, doorknobs, even a light spritz on my phone occasionally. (What? It's waterproof!)." - Marianne Canada, Executive Producer

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"I recently upgraded my beloved hospital masks to these washable and reusable ones. Eco-friendly and stylish!! Lol. I'm headed to NYC after work today and they'll make their airport debut. Can't wait for the side-eyes…" - Laura Susong, Social Media Editor

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"...Even better than hand sanitizer is hand washing! I was inspired by this video (below) to make my own foaming hand soap, and my kids love it. I like these foaming soap pumps that attach right to a mason jar, and one large bottle of castile soap (scented with my favorite essential oil!) lasts for months. Wash your hands!" - Marianne Canada

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DIY Foaming Hand Soap 07:08

Save money and reduce plastic waste by making your own foaming hand soap.

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