We’ve all heard of flu season” a term referring to the several months of the year when influenza viruses are passed around faster than hot celebrity gossip. For those of us who work with the public, or have little ones at home who attend school with other sick children, it can seem inevitable to contract winter’s revenge at least once during a calendar year.
That’s why everywhere you look you will encounter tips to avoid the flu – some more helpful than others. While most of us know to wash our hands every time we hear a Christmas jingle, are there other things we can be doing to fend off that pesky contractual disease that leaves us lying in bed and hugging a vomit bowl?
While no plan is foolproof, there are lots of ways you can push the odds of health in your favor when it seems like your peers are getting picked off one by one. Boosting your immune system may be an obvious one, but things like getting enough sleep and maintaining your body temperature can be just as important in allowing your body to fight the good fight.
Practice Good Habits
Humans are nothing if adaptive creatures. When the season changes to Fall you should alter your habits to avoid the flu viruses your peers may be carrying.
The best gift your coworkers can give you is to stay home from work when they are contagious, but that’s not something you can control. So let’s start with how you carry yourself. When the weather begins to get significantly cooler, it’s time to stop touching your eyes, nose and mouth when not necessary. It’s important to disinfect surfaces your hands come into contact with regularly.
Do you feel more tired when the days get shorter? That’s ok! Getting enough sleep is one of the most important tips to avoid the flu. So it’s a best practice to not stay up too late when not necessary. Giving your body enough rest is a baseline you can build upon. During flu season, it’s more important than ever to stick to your exercise regimen.
The holiday season is a time when junk food is available at every turn, and we’ve all been to the holiday parties where alcohol flowed like water. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a nutritious baseline diet. If you’re getting your veggies at least two meals a day, all those cookies you mindlessly consume to handle holiday stress won’t set you back so far.
Boost Your Immune System
Inevitably, there will come a time when you don’t feel one hundred percent. You have to stay up late wrapping presents for the kiddos and you begin to feel a sniffle starting in your nose. Don’t you dare reach for the eggnog and bourbon, silly! It’s time to reach for the heavy artillery and boost that immune system.
We all know that vitamin C is like an injection for the immune system. While vitamin tablets and emergency packets are a decent place to start, something that can give your body a more well-rounded boost is drinking fresh juice. Many store-bought juices have added sugar which negates some of the nutritious benefits, while juices consumed directly from fresh produce will have the toxin-flushing capability your body craves. Fresh produce has plenty of sweetness when juiced, but sucrose from fruits in vegetables is the kind of sugar your body can use and not be weighed down.
Another vitamin you may want to start thinking more about is zinc. Some doctors strongly recommend getting a dose of zinc at the onset of cold symptoms. According to some studies, zinc may be effective in limiting the number of days a cold lingers. While zinc is readily available in foods like meat and dairy, these are exactly the kinds of food some people try to limit during the flu season.
There are many tips to avoid the flu out there. While it may be true that certain methods work better for some people than others, some methods are rather universal. Get plenty of rest and practice good habits as much as you can. The holidays are an exciting time, but it’s ok to take it easy, too.