As you are probably aware by now, the 2017-2018 flu is now an epidemic in North America. To learn more about how the flu works and why this season is so bad, read this article from Stat News.
So far this season, I have managed to avoid the flu – even working, pregnant, as a nurse in a hospital saturated with flu patients! Avoiding the flu involves using common sense, practicing self-care and having a little extra patience.
Whether or not you received the vaccine, these 5 simple steps will help you avoid the flu so you can start your new year healthy! Plus, each one of these steps is safe to use or practice during pregnancy.
Strict Hand Washing. The number one way to avoid the flu is to wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Flu germs are spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing. These droplets contain the flu virus and can be found on virtually every surface during flu season – the shopping cart at the grocery store, the ATM machine, any door handle, the bathroom stall, the pen to sign your credit card receipt, the gym equipment, etc. Hand washing is the best way to kill these germs and prevent spreading them to yourself and your home. Wash your hands frequently, after touching anything in public. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer until you get home and can wash them. And while you’re at it, be sure to routinely disinfect the surfaces at your home and office.
Stay Home. Stay away from crowded public places to avoid the flu. Avoid gatherings, parties and public events if you are able to. Anywhere1 a large group of people are all gathered together increases your chances of getting the flu – someone there is bound to be sick. Use this time of the year to stay home, rest and stay healthy. If you have already contracted the flu or you are starting to feel sick, stay home. Please don’t spread the flu by going out or going to work sick. And don’t forget to cover your cough or sneeze (use your elbow crook and sleeve).
Boost Your Immune System. Be sure you are getting plenty of sleep, now is not the time for all-nighters. Getting extra sleep helps boost the immune system and the body’s ability to fight off infection. Another way you can boost your immune system is to eat a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide the body with a variety of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that support a strong immune system. Sugars, processed foods and dairy only inhibit the immune system, bogging down the body and putting you at higher risk for getting the flu. Taking 1,000mg of Vitamin C a day and drinking plenty of fluids are other great ways to boost your immune system and keep your body healthy.
Take Natural Anti-Virals. Natural anti-virals are found in foods and herbs. Anti-viral herbs help to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Garlic and Ginger are excellent sources of anti-viral herbs. In order for these herbs to work as potent anti-virals in your body, they must be in their raw form (not dried). Add a shot of ginger juice to your morning routine or add some extra garlic to tonight’s dinner. Another one of my favorite anti-viral herbs is Elderberry. I take a teaspoon of Elderberry syrup daily. Visit your local Co-Op, Health Food Store or Natural Pharmacy and chat with the herbalist to find the right anti-viral herbs for you.
Manage Stress. Stress weakens the immune system. Find time each day to release stress and relax. Take a hot shower, sip hot herbal tea, read a favorite book, get a massage, practice yoga, spend time with a pet or loved one, go for a walk or get fresh air – anything that helps you release stress and promotes relaxation will help keep your body healthy. A healthy mind promotes a healthy body!
Happy New Year, stay healthy!