Fighting the Flu This Winter
January 2, 2017 in Health and Wellness
By: Carolyn Eagle , Senior Editor, Health Media Today
We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning and that tired feeling and tingle in your sinuses from the night before has turned into a full blown headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, chills, fever, dry cough, and muscle aches. You have the flu.
This year, you vow “Never again!” but let’s face it, winter rolls around and the flu virus is everywhere. Those of us with kids face the double whammy of being exposed by our kids as well as the outside world and it seems like there are never enough sick days to go around. So, what are we to do?
First and foremost, go get yourself and your family a 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?
Try to Avoid
Sugar, which depletes the immune system, making you susceptible to those nasty viruses.
Touching your hands to your nose, eyes, or mouth before washing.
Alcohol and caffeine which can help to dehydrate you.
Going in to work or to any public place if you are sick. 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!!).
Indulge in garlic for its great antioxidant properties and allicin, which helps to prevent or shorten the length of infections.
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 after handling money, pushing a shopping cart or using public transportation
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?
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.
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.
And my absolute favourite…
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…”
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More Health articles by Carolyn Eagle , Senior Editor, Health Media Today