It’s the least wonderful time of the year—cold and flu season. Be prepared with these essentials.
Flu vaccine. Your best protection against the flu is 100% cov- ered under the Affordable Care Act for most insurance plans.
Clean hands. Scrub with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. In a pinch, try hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol, like Purell Advanced in Ocean Kiss scent ($2.87, Walmart).
Antibacterial wipes. Focus on high-contact surfaces like doorknobs, light switches and shopping cart handles (studies show they’re often germier than public toilets!).
Cool mist humidifier. Adding moisture to the air can help thin mucus and reduce congestion.
Salt solution. Rinse achy sinuses with a saline nasal spray or a teapot-like neti pot, such as Arm & Hammer’s Simply Sa- line Plus Neti Pot Kit ($14.99, Walgreens).
Cough meds, just in case. Expectorants with the ingredient guaifenesin thin mucus; antitussive suppressants block the cough reflex. Get both in Robitussin’s new Maximum Strength Cough and Congestion DM ($5.97 for 20, Walmart). (Read ingredient lists if you’re on multiple meds to avoid doubling up.)