Everyone in my office, most of my friends, and half of my household has already experienced a cold or the flu for the season. We all know it’s coming -- that time of year when the air turns colder, days are shorter and kids are back in school.
Is there anything you can do to build up some resilience and avoid it all together? Try these steps.
1. You know it’s probably coming, so prepare ahead of time - The point of this article is to prevent a cold or the flu altogether. However being prepared "just in case" may shorten your downtime.
Buy Kleenex, honey, good herbal teas, your supplements, cold/flu medications, and anything else you and your family might need to feel healthy.
2. Get plenty of rest – Lack of sleep stresses out your body and weakens your immune system leaving you prone to illness.
3. Focus on your diet- Cut out the sugar and dairy products. Sugar weakens the immune system and dairy products have been known to thicken phlegm.
4. Keep looking at your diet – Foods such as ginger, honey, and garlic are helpful to your health.
5. Pay attention to hygiene – Wash your hands (often) and cover your nose when you sneeze with the crux of your arm or a tissue. Droplets from a sneeze can spread as far as three feet!
6. Take your vitamins – Vitamin C, Zinc, and vitamin D are known to improve and support your immune system.
7. Take your probiotics – They are the healthy gut bacteria that live in your intestines and help protect you from the cold and flu the longer you take them.
Does yogurt count? No. First, yogurt is part of the dairy family and that will thicken your mucus. Second, yogurt has a lot of sugar in it. Third, the probiotic content in yogurt is not enough to fully support you during the cold and flu season.
8. Consider the herbal route – Herbs such as echinacea, andrographis, and elderberry help your immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
9. Rinse your sinuses - Use a neti pot or other nasal rinse system daily to pull the bacteria out of your sinuses.
10. Gargle with salt water – This helps reduce inflammation and pain in your tonsils.
1. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Cold and Flu Season: What Is the Science? Web. 5 October 2011.
2. Andrographis Could Be the Superior Cold Treatment. Web. 5 October, 2011.
Reviewed October 6, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith