Sunday, December 26, 2010

Health News Dozen: Cold and Flu Prevention

Much is written in the fall months about fending off colds as the temperature changes, but there is no better time than in the midst of the winter months to become reacquainted with the best ways to prevent cold and flu bugs from invading your life. Some of the tips are all too familiar, but others may be pieces of advice that, incorporated into a daily routine, can help maintain health and fend off winter sicknesses.

Everyone is susceptible to cold and flu germs, no matter how tough the immune system might be. And germs affect everyone in different ways, whether it be light cold symptoms or a full-blown flu that results in missed work, neglected familial obligations, damaged exercise and diet routines, and quite a few dollars spent on medicines and tissues to assist recovery. The negative consequences of catching a bug has been complicated of late with the dangers of H1N1 and other harsher strains of the flu, which can bring a much longer recovery period or even result in hospitalization or death. Fending off germs has become even more important in today’s environment

It cannot be emphasized enough that washing one’s hands is one of the best way to keep germs away. People don’t often realize how many things they touch throughout the day, whether it be doorknobs or stair railings or items at the grocery store, that others have touched. Washing hands often is a highly recommended way to stay healthy, and washing twice in a row is even better.

There are certain vitamins that people should keep on tap and incorporate into a daily diet, as it is often difficult to ensure that meals will satisfy the recommended dosages. But extra intake of such cold prevention supplements as vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc can do no harm, if done in recommended amounts, and can only help the body stay strong in cold temperatures, wet weather, and germ-prevalent situations. Adding a yogurt or probiotic to the daily diet has also found to be helpful. Salmon and protein-rich foods also aid in creating a healthier immune system, and plenty of fluids allow the body to function properly and better fight off germs.

Stress is one of the major factors in the onset of colds and flu, simply because a stressed body is less equipped to defend itself against viruses. Reducing stress factors at work and at home during the winter months is a positive step in staying healthy, but when a stress-free work or life is not plausible, there are ways to de-stress and relieve the body of some of the anxiety. Yoga and meditation are two wildly popular methods of relaxation, though almost any form of exercise can improve the body’s chances of balancing health and stress. Ample sleep also allows the body a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

One of the lesser known tips of fending off germs is to keep one’s toothbrush germ-free by microwaving it for ten seconds every few days. Even better, replace one’s toothbrush on a monthly basis and especially after recovering from a cold or flu.

Another piece of advice is to allow fresh air into one’s home at least once per week. Winter months can prompt the heat to run nearly constantly, and the heat combined with recycled air allows germs to fester and spread. Even in the bitter cold of winter, if the windows can be cracked for a day or fans used to blow some air through the home once a week, germs won’t be allowed to settle and healthier air will flow in one’s living and sleeping space. Lastly, a flu shot is highly recommended. Though it won’t prevent all strains of the flu virus or keep the body from becoming susceptible to colds, knowing that the flu bug won’t bite is a welcome relief for many people. And for those with other medical conditions or in their elder years, a flu shot is almost always recommended by a physician. Staying healthy, adding a few nutrients and supplements to one’s diet, and paying special attention to places that germs might be found or grow can mean the difference between suffering the ugly effects of a cold or flu or enjoying the winter months. 

There would be 11 ways to avoid Flu and Cold: 
  1. Wash hands often, and twice
  2. Vit C, echinacea, & zinc daily
  3. Eat protein-rich foods
  4. Drink plenty of fluids
  5. Add probiotic to daily diet
  6. Use towels on faucets/handles
  7. Get a flu shot
  8. Try yoga or meditation to reduce stress
  9. Microwave toothbrush & replace monthly
  10. Allow fresh air into the home
  11. Get plenty of sleep

1 comment:

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