7 Tips to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
I'm not totally sure what's up with the weather this year. It goes from a high of 90 degrees one day to a freeze warning the next... it's no wonder we are all getting sick.
If you've been blessed to not be surrounded by the first round of the cold and flu season, consider yourself lucky. My office has been full of the coughing, sneezing people — they even got me.
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While I'm not one that gets sick very often, being surrounded by people who are sick can make it difficult to stay healthy. There are, however, some things we can do to ensure our immune system is working as well as possible to fight off all of those viruses.
So here are seven tips you can use to stay healthy through this lovely cold and flu season.
Stay Healthy This Cold & Flu Season
1.) Drink More Water
Nothing saps your energy and immune system like a constant state of mild dehydration. If you are mildly dehydrated, your brain isn't functioning the best it can, and the toxins and waste material in your body are slow to get flushed out. The quicker you can flush toxins out of your body, the better your immune system can fight infections.
Make sure you get plenty of water — I can't stress this enough. That soda you drank is not water. Try some tea, coffee, or even get something to flavor your water. I personally like the MIO bottles.
Eating some foods with electrolytes and complex carbs will help your body absorb the fluids you drink. Try foods like celery, fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, and broth-based soups.
2.) Drink Less Alcohol
I'm all for everyone having fun, but when that fun has a ripple effect on your hydration and sleep, you should use caution. Lack of sleep and dehydration are two immune boosters you need the most of.
Sure, alcohol leaves the body after about five or six hours, but the long-term effects are what you need to worry about. Skipping that workout because you feel like crap, getting a bad night's sleep, and then eating poorly due to cravings all will have a negative effect on your immune system.
3.) Sleep More
When you go to sleep at night, your body shuts down and restores itself. It fights off the invaders, repairs muscle, repairs immune system, and allows you to perform at your highest level.
Skipping out on sleep or reducing your quality of sleep makes you more susceptible to cold and other viruses.
4.) Get More Exercise
Exercise promotes a healthy immune system. This makes it better at fighting infection, so sticking to your workout routine is important.
If you don't have a routine yet, check out these workouts.
Did you know you should still exercise when you feel you have early symptoms of a cold like a stuffy nose or fatigue? The physical activity helps flush bacteria out of your lungs and increases your body temperature — a process that could help prevent bacteria growth.
5.) Wash Your Hands More
Have you ever wondered how people who practically bathe in hand sanitizer still gets sick? Some research has suggested that overuse of hand sanitizers can cause antibiotic resistance. But good old-fashioned hand washing will always work.
The Centers for Disease Control emphasizes that we need to wash our hands with soap and water frequently to prevent infections due to so many items potentially having germs that could make us sick.
The normal items that we associate with germs like toilets and bathroom handles may not even be the worst things to worry about. Elevator buttons, shared telephones, and computers all are a host of bacteria.
6.) Watch Touching Your Face
We touch our faces a lot. We rest our chin on our hands, rub our eyes or forehead, lick our fingers while we eat, or even when we are digging for gold.
Even if you frequently wash your hands, germs can still accumulate in between washes. The CDC suggests that germs easily get into the body through our eyes, nose, and mouth.
7.) Improve Your Gut Bacteria
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine point out a huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your gastrointestinal tract. So this suggests that better gut bacteria means a better immune system.
The cell lining in the gut is what is responsible for producing the antibodies that fight off bacteria and viruses.
Here Are a Few Things You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Bacteria:
- Reduce your stress levels
- Increase your exercise levels
- Eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut
- Eat more vegetables
- Try a probiotic supplement
Wrapping It Up
While we can't fight off every germ and plague going around, healthy habits build on each other.
Help yourself dodge some of these colds going around by improving your amount and quality of sleep, staying hydrated, reduce your stress, exercise, and take some precautions this season.