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Easy Tips and Tricks to Avoiding the Flu This Season
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Health and Wellness
December means holidays and festivities for many of us but with all of the parties, indulgence, and busy times comes a stress on our immune system that can leave us wide open to the flu and other viruses.
With many parts of Canada getting a late start on winter weather, it’s easy to forget that we are mere weeks away from flu season so here are some easy to follow tips that you can act on now to avoid getting sick in January.
Get the Flu Shot
The shot is made to strengthen your body's natural immune response against the flu and stimulates your immune system to build antibodies against the virus, making it stronger and ready to fight off the flu. Free flu shot clinics are everywhere at this time of year, so if you can’t get to, or don’t have, a family doctor, get googling and find the flu shot clinic nearest you.
If you think that getting the flu shot will keep you free and clear from getting ill, you need to think again. The shot is a valuable tool which will help you to fight off the virus but there is still a chance that you can catch the flu, usually with lessened symptoms. What else can you do to ensure that you get through this flu season unscathed?
Lay Off the Sweets
Sugar depletes the immune system, making you susceptible to those nasty viruses.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Touching your hands to your nose, eyes, or mouth before washing is a sure-fire way to pick up any germs that lay on surfaces you may be touching.
Load Up on Garlic
Indulge in garlic for its great antioxidant properties and allicin, which helps to prevent or shorten the length of infections.
Sip Some Tea
Try sipping green tea on those chilly days. It’s full of bacteria fighting anti-oxidants and immune boosting chemicals. Give homemade ginger tea a try, freshly sliced ginger steeped in hot water. The gingerol found in ginger helps to fight viruses.
Keep those hands washed, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Have your kids sing the ABC song from start to finish while they scrub. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling money, pushing a shopping cart, or using public transportation
Keep Hydrated Inside and Out
Drink lots of water to help avoid dehydration. Not keen on cold water when there’s a chill in the air? What about green tea or ginger tea? Alcohol and caffeine can help to dehydrate you, so try not to overindulge.
Buy a humidifier to help prevent the dry winter air in your home from drying out your sinuses and giving bacteria more places to lurk.
Get Some Zzzzzs
Get lots of rest. It’s a busy time of year but the world will not come crashing to an end if you get a decent night’s sleep and you will be more alert and productive come morning.
Get regular moderate exercise to stimulate those T cells into fighting off viruses.
Keep Your Toes Warm… Yes, Really
Indulge in some fluffy new slippers and keep those toes warm. Dr. Vogel, author of The Nature Doctor writes “The nose walls (conchae) react to cold feet. When the feet are cold the walls contract, become cold and dry and cause the glands to stop functioning, so that dust and bacteria are no longer filtered out. It is easy to see why a cold will almost inevitably result, followed by catarrh or a runny nose. You can now understand why it is important to avoid getting cold feet…”
And if All Else Fails… Call in Sick
Going in to work or to any public place if you are sick is not only discourteous, it can be dangerous. The very young and the elderly are in greater danger of serious side effects from the flu so you can extend a courtesy to those around you by not spreading your germs (unlike whomever contaminated you!!).