As summer turns to fall, the cold and flu season is upon us and there are some simple things you can do at home to prevent colds and flus.
Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after eating or preparing food, when getting home from outside, and after using the bathroom, shaking hands with people, using gym equipment or someone’s phone or keyboard.
Sneeze into the inner part of your arm or a tissue, to minimize the spread the germs.
Maintain good oral hygiene (including proper tooth brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist), as the oral cavity is a gateway to the upper and lower respiratory and digestive tracts.
Opt for immune-boosting foods like: garlic, onions, ginger (all fresh and raw), green plants (chlorella, parsley, kale, spinach, spirulina, cabbage, dandelion greens, watercress, arugula, etc), dark berries and cherries (blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, acai), and small amounts of naturally fermented foods (organic saurkraut, organic plain yogurt or kefir, miso). Choose warming foods like soups, stews and casseroles over cold salads.
It’s important to stay well hydrated, and to maintain moisture in your mucous membranes (i.e. nasal passages, throat) for them to be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses. The average adult requires 8 cups of water a day.
Some helpful flu prevention remedies include Vitamin D, Elderberry, and Vitamin C.
Vitamin D, which tends to be low in Michiganders, is intimately involved in viral immunity and flu prevention. Recommended doses have recently increased to 2000 I.U. daily for adults with sufficient vitamin D in their blood and 4000 I.U. daily for people with low vitamin D. Children are now advised to take 1000 I.U. daily.
Elderberry has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. The syrups are tasty, safe and don’t hurt to start taking it if you feel any symptoms of a cold or flu coming on.
If you do start to feel sick, take action immediately. Take a day or two off work. Sleep more. Eat light, simple foods like soup and drink lots of fluids. If able, take a gentle walk outside to encourage circulation and sweat. Being sick is no fun, but once your body fights off an infection, your immune system “remembers it” and won’t succumb to the same virus again.
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