Diligent Hand Washing
There may be no more promoted solution to avoiding the flu this year (besides the flu shot, of course) than diligent hand washing. As many as 80 percent of infections are transmitted via contact like sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on, says Tierno, and then touching “your mouth, eyes or nose, which are the conduits of viruses into the body.” He recommends scrubbing before eating, drinking or touching your face, and disinfecting shared surfaces in the home (like the bathroom) and the office, like phones, computers and fridge door handles.
Getting your blood pumping regularly can increase the activity of a type of white blood cells that attacks viruses. Shoot for an hour a day, says Tierno — but not necessarily all at once. “Even if it’s walking around the office, up stairs, down stairs, to and from work — it doesn’t have to be continuous,” he says.
Garlic Doesn't Just Keep The Vampires Away
The anti-microbial properties of this pungent bulb (and its relative, the onion) can fight off certain bacteria and viruses, says Tierno, as can the compounds in other herbs and spices, like thyme. It’s likely due to the compound allicin, which seems to block infections. Try it in your next bowl of soothing chicken soup!
Thankfully, most of us are inhabiting cozy-warm homes this winter, but those cranking radiators come with a downside. Indoor winter air is much dryer than our bodies would like. Without sufficient moisture, says Tierno, “immune system cells can’t optimally work,” so it’s important to stay hydrated.
While you’re off in dreamland, your body gets to work repairing cells and injuries you may have incurred during the normal day’s wear and tear, says Tierno. Getting your seven to nine hours a night means your body can repair and heal itself and ward off infections. “If you don’t get the appropriate sleep, that system is not operating and you’re on a steady decline over time,” he says.
In fact, skimping on sleep is as disruptive to the immune system as stress, according to a 2012 study. And earlier research suggested that sleep patterns may play a role in a gene that helps fight off bacteria and viruses.
Eat Phyto Foods
"Phyto" means plants, and the natural chemicals in them give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. So put away the vitamin pill and eat dark green, red, and yellow veggies and fruits.
Elderberry & Echinacea
Evidence shows that elderberries contain potent antiviral compounds as well as high amounts of bioflavonoids and that extracts of the fruit can help fight the flu. The extract is most often taken as a syrup and elderberry syrup is a widely researched and proven way to boost immunity at any time but especially against colds and flu.
Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent.
Echinacea reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days.
Echinacea can be purchased from a wide variety of retailers and is typically consumed in capsule or syrup form.
Purify Your Air
Air purifiers keep your space ventilated and help eliminate moist, damp conditions where bacteria and viruses thrive. Controlling moisture indoors can limit the spread of infectious diseases, as well as helping to eliminate mold, dust mite, and cockroach growth.
Your diet and lifestyle are two key components for keeping your immune system strong, protecting it from foreign invaders prevalent in the environment. Staying away from sugar, for example, can be extremely effective, because refined sugar and refined carbohydrates in general (like white flour) suppresses immune function. Increasing your intake of vitamin C through leafy greens and small berries, like mulberries, can also support your defense system. Citrus fruits are also excellent supporters of immune health, but try to limit your intake of citrus juice, which is just liquid sugar with vitamins.
Again, stress provides a huge impact on immune health, and not managing it properly can lead you more susceptible to the cold and the flu. Meditation and proper sleep habits are crucial for managing stress levels and are also completely free. Exercise is also an important supporter of good health and is believed to play a role in overall disease prevention. So, in combination with an appropriate diet rich in probiotics, make sure you are staying active throughout the day.
A Healthy, Happy Toothbrush
Yes, your toothbrush can prevent you from getting the flu…..but, many germs and viruses that cause the flu can be hiding inside your brush! The list below contains suggestions for a happy, healthy toothbrush and a happy healthy you:
- Wash your hands before and after brushing your teeth, or someone else’s teeth.
- Set your toothbrush upright in a cup inside a bathroom cabinet (the bathroom is usually the most contaminated room in the house).
- Air dry your toothbrush.
- Your toothbrush can hold onto your germs and infections. When you are ill, change your toothbrush so that you do not re-infect yourself. You can pick up the inexpensive economy packs of toothbrushes and change it daily. Once you are well you can go back to your cooler, state-of-the-art toothbrush if you wish.
- Do not share your tooth brush; this will increase your risk of sharing or passing an infection to someone else.
- If you share a toothbrush holder, regularly clean and disinfect the holder. Ensure the brushes cannot touch each other.
Disclaimer: This information has not been given by a healthcare professional. This information is based upon research and information provided from healthcare sites and pamphlets. If your child is sick and needs medical assistance, please visit a healthcare clinic or professional. For emergencies, visit your closest hospital or dial 911.