It’s officially flu season!
Most years, I have managed to avoid the flu – even working as a nurse in a hospital saturated with flu patients! Avoiding the flu involves using common sense and maintaining a wellness routine.
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 or lactating.
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 live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. The flu virus 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 and 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, in your car and in your work space.
Stay Home. Stay away from crowded public places to avoid the flu. Avoid gatherings, parties and public events if you are able to. Anywhere 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. Routine chiropractic therapy can also boost your immune system by keeping your nervous system in alignment.
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 2 teaspoons of Elderberry syrup daily, it’s Mother Nature’s natural flu shot! 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 Autumn and Be Well