8 Ways to Protect Against the Cold and Flu Season

Ross Quade | Health | 15 Oct, 2014 | No Comments

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Cold and flu season is upon us and this year looks as if it is going to be tough with many illnesses already being experienced by the young and old alike. In order for you to be ready to battle the cold and flu season ahead, it is best to learn how to protect you and your family from the extensive germs that get shared during this time of year. While there is no foolproof way to keep yourself free from all illnesses, there are many things that you can do to minimize your chances. Here are some of the best ways to keep you and your family safe from the flu running rampant in your house.

Get a Flu Shot

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older obtains a flu shot this year. The antibodies contained in the flu shot can take up to 2 weeks to develop in the body, which means that the earlier that you get the vaccine, the earlier you will be protected during the heart of flu season. Even if the flu vaccine does not distinctly match the flu virus that is going around this year, it does increase your chance of having a milder case of the flu, should you catch it, in turn protecting those around you as well.

Wash Your Hands

Warm soap and water can kill germs better than almost anything else available to you when the right technique is used. Simply running your hands under water and using a bit of soap is not enough. You need to thoroughly scrub your hands together for at least 20 seconds to rid your hands of all germs. If you are washing in public, try to use a paper towel to touch the faucet and any doorknobs after washing to prevent picking up more germs.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Cardio exercise, the type that gets your heart pumping, can help to boost your immune system. It helps to give the cells responsible for attacking bacteria a boost. The boost is temporary, but if you exercise regularly, you can keep your cells active and limit the number of times that you experience colds or flu this season. It is important to ensure that you incorporate adequate rest with your exercise routines to allow your body plenty of time to recover too.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are also known as antioxidants or flavonoids, which are not found in any other food. These phytochemicals serve as a boost to the vitamins that you consume from other foods, giving your body the maximum benefits of the vitamins. This is in stark contrast to the benefits received from vitamin supplements. The more natural the vitamins, the better off your immune system. Make sure to include orange, green and red fruits and vegetables in your diet to get the maximum benefit.

Wipe All Surfaces Down

Cold and flu germs linger on more than your hands; they are also found on phones, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches and remotes. Try to create the habit of wiping these surfaces down regularly, not just when you suspect that germs have been spread onto them. If you use antiseptic wipes, you can kill the bacteria that are lingering on the surface, preventing them from spreading to your hands and eventually into your mouth or nose, allowing you to catch a cold or flu virus.

Decrease Stress

If you experience long periods of stress, your body becomes immune to the hormone, cortisol, which is produced to protect your cells from damage. The more immune that your body becomes, the higher the chances become of you getting a cold or the flu. Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to do something that relaxes you, whether it is practicing yoga or meditation or participating in your favorite hobby. The time that you allow yourself could be crucial to your overall health this winter.

Stay Hydrated

A well-hydrated body operates at optimal efficiency, which means that you need to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. The more hydrated your body is, the better the blood can circulate throughout your body. This allows the white blood cells, which help to fight off infection, be where they need to be in order to fight off cold or flu germs. It is best to stick with water when trying to hydrate as any drink with caffeine or excessive sugar can further dehydrate your body.

Get Plenty of Rest

Even when you are not sick, your body needs plenty of sleep. This is the time that your body recoups from the damages that it goes through all day long, including your immune system. While you sleep, your white blood cells are able to recover and attack in areas of your body that are being damaged by cold or flu germs. If you feel yourself coming down with an illness, one of the best things that you can do is get some extra sleep.

If you are vigilant about the above steps, you can give your body a fighting chance against getting the flu or chronic colds. The colder months really wreak havoc on our bodies, making it very necessary to take good care of yourself to boost your immune system to fight off any germs that come your way.

 




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