Sneezing, coughing, blowing of noses…the familiar sounds of winter. The flu is running even more rampant than usual this year, and it’s spreading quickly! When everyone around you is sporting a drippy nose or running a fever, how do you protect yourself against colds and flus?
Wash Your Hands
After you shake hands, touch surfaces, use the restroom … there basically aren’t “too many” times you can wash your hands. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and leave the water running over them long enough to effectively wash away those germs! Lavender essential oil or a good, old-fashioned hand sanitizer can work to sanitize hands in a pinch.
A healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables gives your body the vitamins it needs to fight infection. Protein has also been found to build the immune system and help avoid sickness. Keeping your body well-nourished will keep your immune system strong and help it fight off any sneaky germs!
Keep Those Hands Away
Avoid touching your nose and eyes, which are areas with mucous membranes that make them vulnerable to germs. It’s one of the fastest ways germs get into your body and make you sick. Don’t put your hands in your mouth, either, and wash your hands prior to eating anything with your hands!
Get Enough Rest
When you’re tired, your immune system doesn’t function as efficiently, and your body is more susceptible to illness. This is particularly true when you feel yourself coming down with something. Get plenty of rest—a full 8 hours of sleep per night is recommended—and take it easy!
Sweating pushes toxins out of the body, and exercise strengthens the immune system. Yoga, in particular, has been found to have immune system benefits. Don’t do anything too strenuous that might exhaust your body TOO much, but some exercise might help!
Play Keep Away
When people around you are showing symptoms, keep your distance from them. This can be harder to do with close friends or family members, but germs are passed by close contact. Don’t worry; they’ll understand. They got their illness from someone spreading it around through coughs or sneezes, too, and they probably don’t want you feeling as crummy as they do!
Drink LOTS of Water
Water keeps the body hydrated and helps flush toxins from the body, so make sure you’re drinking a lot of fluids. Recommended water intake is half your body weight (in ounces) per day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink at least 60 ounces per day.
Research has shown that happiness helps people stay healthier. Endorphins are released when you smile and laugh, and they help improve your body’s natural defenses.
Get a Flu Shot
Although flu shots won’t protect you against every strain of flu, many people find them to be effective. Be sure to get yours early to avoid shortages.
People in a study from the University of Wisconsin – Madison were found to take 76% fewer sick days than their non-meditating counterparts. Scientists believe that meditation fights illness by helping the body avoid stress.
Take Vitamin D
Canadian researchers found that weekly doses of 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the risk of upper respiratory infections—colds—by about 50 percent. Vitamin D helps improve your immune system, which is why it’s much more common for people in the winter (lacking the Vitamin D from natural sunshine) to catch and spread illness!
Not only does smoking lead to increased illness, simply spending time around smokers does the same thing. It can weaken your immune system on top of its other health hazards!
Alcohol consumption impairs sleep, and getting enough sleep is necessary to fight stress and illness. Alcohol also dehydrates your body, and you need to keep your body plenty hydrated when you’re sick.
Keep Your Nose Warm
Breathing in cold air has been found to increase susceptibility to colds. Conversely, breathing in steam from tea has been found to help the cilia inside the nose filter germs more effectively. (And if you like tea, you could be getting an added benefit: honey is anti-bacterial, and lemon helps thin mucus.)
Wipe It Down
Regularly cleaning surfaces with proper cleaning agents can kill germs and avoid the transfer of all kinds of illness.
Try to avoid racking up the healthcare costs (and sick days spent feeling absolutely miserable and being away from work) by following these tips and avoiding the spread of germs.
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