When cold and flu season hits this year, be prepared with some preventative action.
You can’t avoid every cold going around, but you may be able to minimize your family’s risk.
By following some of these health tips, maybe you can make it through the flu season unscathed.
Some are common sense, and some might take some effort, but the payoff of a healthy family is definitely worth it.
Prevention is always cheaper than the cure…
- Wash your hands frequently, especially when returning home from a public place. Stay away from “antibacterial” soaps with triclosan.
- Change your hand towels often. Using a common towel may pass germs from one person to another.
- Clean the places that harbor the most germs in your house.
- Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep will negatively affect your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. Be aware of what your body needs (8 hours may not be enough for some people), and supplement it with quick cat-naps of 15 to 30 minutes if you can.
- Stay hydrated. Living and working inside with the heat on really dries you out, and it’s harder to remember to drink water when it isn’t hot outside.
- Take your vitamins. Find a good whole-food based multivitamin for you and your family, especially if you aren’t eating as healthy as you should.
- Get some sunshine. Exposing yourself to the sun every day boosts vitamin D production and helps to lift your mood, which affects your immune response.
- Stay active. Regular exercise, especially vigorous exercise, keeps your body healthy and offsets our modern sedentary lifestyle.
- Be positive. Having a positive outlook may be one of the most important things you do for your health.
- Vitamin C. I am a big fan of Emergen-C. Just mix with water for a fizzy, energizing drink.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Vegetables and fruits are nutritional powerhouses, and with citrus coming into season in the winter, eating lots of oranges is a cheap way to support your immune system.
- Use herbs for healing. Astragalus, osha root, echinacea, and elderberry extract are widely used and easily found in health food stores and co-ops.
- Get a massage. A massage will help to support your lymphatic system and flush toxins from your body.
- Take it easy on the coffee and alcohol. At the first sign of illness, try taking a break from coffee and alcohol to give your liver less to deal with.
- Just say no. When feeling less than optimal, do less, stay home from work if you can, and don’t over-commit. Make your health the highest priority.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medications. Suppressing the symptoms through medication may make you feel temporarily better, but it’s usually best to let your body heal itself.
Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season!
Image: Steven Fernandez at Flickr under Creative Commons