Simple Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu
To prevent colds and flu, and pandemic scares, we all want to do what we can to avoid getting sick.
Bacterial infections can be treated with a round of antibiotics. But, with sicknesses caused by viruses like the flu or the common cold, you often have to ride it out.
While there are medications that can help ease your symptoms, your immune system must fight the viral infection off. Why not take it easy on your body and do what you can to avoid catching it in the first place?
Louis Pasteur a great scientist established the germ theory of disease. One of the main components of Pasteur’s discoveries is that it is necessary to look to the germ and the host. We know plenty about the germs but what we don’t know much about what makes some people resilient and others not.
To prevent colds and flu let’s look at some actions to take to strengthen our own health. Here are some basic steps to make our own body more likely to resist the virus and communicable diseases. Our immune system needs to work at optimal efficiency.I practice wellness and I am beyond group beliefs. I am safe and I trust the process of life to bring only good to me. Click To Tweet
1)Wash Your Hands
Your first line of defense to prevent colds and flu this year is simple – Wash Your Hands. That’s right. The simple act of washing your hands with soap and hot water for 25 seconds limits the spread of cold and flu viruses. I also like to use a nail brush and keep the underside of my fingernails clean. Get in the habit of washing your hands whenever you’ve been out in public, and whenever you can throughout the workday. Wash them before you eat or drink food and when hot water and soap aren’t available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I like to carry my own ready-to-go hand sanitizer. I prefer homemade with natural ingredients. Get my version here.
Why is this so important? Because you are more likely to pick up those viruses with your hands than any other way. Sure, having someone cough in your face doesn’t help. But your chances of getting the flu or coming down with the common cold is more probable by contact with a handrail or doorknob. But it’s now on your hands, which isn’t a big problem by itself. It can’t enter through the skin there. I am sorry to inform you; the Anti-bacterial wipes do not kill the virus. The alcohol content is NOT strong enough.
The problem arises when you touch your face. We touch our nose, rub our eyes, or get our fingers too close to our mouth when we eat or cough. The virus makes it to a mucous membrane in any of those areas and it’s right where it wants to be.
So, what are you waiting for, Go wash your hands!
2)Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
All systems of your body work best when they are well fed. This includes your immune system. Stick to a whole foods-based diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent colds and flu. If you feel like you might be a little under the weather, increase your intake of Vitamin C as well. Eat a few citrus fruits. Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are other great options.
Avoid eating processed foods. It takes a lot of time and effort to digest them. This will weigh your body down with extra work. Use your energy to boost your immune system, keep you from getting sick, or help you get well sooner. For more info on foods to eat for your stress and your immune system. Here is a recent E-course on the best foods to eat for stress. This also works for your immunity as well: How to Eat to Relieve Stress.
3)How Sugar Affects Your Immune Function
Please bear with me here. I need to inform you that sugar suppresses the immune system. When you eat a candy bar or have a Coke it lowers your immune system’s ability to respond to challenges. The effect lasts for several hours. So, when you eat sweets several times a day, your immune system will be operating at a disadvantage. In order to abstain from sugar and prevent colds and flu start reading labels. This will lead to making better choices on what you put into your body. If you’re addicted to sugar here is one of my favorite recipes for Chocolate Truffles.
4)Get Some Exercise
Besides eating well, get out there and get regular exercise. For best results, work out in the fresh air. Something as simple as a daily quick walk can help you stay well and strengthen your body. It has the added benefit of helping you to de-stress. I don’t have to tell you that you’re more likely to get sick when you are stressed. Use daily exercise to destress and boost your immune system.
5)Make Time for Sleep
This tip is easy to skip over, yet it is the most important one for most of us and the one that can give your immune system a great boost. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines. Also, our infection-fighting antibodies and cells are lower during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
Make the time to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Practice good sleep hygiene. Don’t let the word scare you. It means turning off your phone and other screens a few hours before bed. Keep your bedroom calm, quiet, and at a temperature that encourages sleep. It also includes establishing and sticking to a bedtime routine. As an added bonus, you’ll feel more energized for everything else you have to do all day.
6)Drink Plenty of Fluids
It is important to drink the appropriate amount of water. The rule of thumb is one-half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs. you should drink 40 oz or five 8 oz glasses of water per day. I find that measuring it out in a flask or container in the morning helps me to “pace” myself.
A big reason to drink enough water to prevent colds and flu is that your immune system uses antibodies to fight infections. These antibodies stick to the virus affected cells, rendering them ineffective. The virus antibody combo is then ready to exit the body. When hydrated with plenty of fluids it makes it easier for our body to flush them out.
Vitamin C supercharges the different pathways that happen in the immune system to fight off germs. Our bodies do not make Vitamin C so we must consume it in food or supplements. It is pretty hard to overdose on it until you get up to 5,000 milligrams which may cause diarrhea. Vitamin C is water-soluble so it should be taken twice a day. Take 500 to 2,500 milligrams of Vitamin C twice a day.
This is one of the often-overlooked supplements, but at this time of the year, it is an important immune booster. (It is also associated with healthier aging). Zinc is very important to our bodies for physical and mental health. The recommended dosage is 20 to 50 milligrams. This time of the year I would up the dosage to 50 milligrams. Try to take zinc at different times of the day because it can interfere with the absorption of calcium, copper, and iron. Look for zinc picolinate and zinc citrate. These two forms of zinc are best absorbed by your body.
Elderberry is one of the most common medicinal plants in the world. It is a variety of the Sambucus tree, the most common variety is Sambucus nigra or black elderberry. Black Elderberry is high in Vitamin C and phenolic acids which are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from oxidative stress. Vitamin C is also a good source of flavonoids a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. Higher levels of C will shorten the number of days you are sick and helps to boost the immune system.
10)Olive Leaf Extract
Olive Leaf has so many benefits:
- Prevents high blood pressure levels
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Fights diabetes
- May reduce the risk of cancer
- Improves brain function
- Treats arthritis
- Kills bacteria and fungi
- Boosts the immune system
- Protects the skin
Do not take the olive leaf with blood pressure medications since it lowers blood pressure. Dosage ranges from 500-1000 milligrams daily.
11)N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC
NAC is a very good antioxidant that is particularly good for the upper respiratory tract.
The cells of our body contain glutathione an important substance that aids in cellular detoxification. Also, it recycles antioxidants to protect the cell from damage. Raising levels of glutathione can help with many diseases including detoxification of the liver. It also helps to maintain blood pressure, protects the skin, eyes, and other tissues against oxidative stress.
I know you may not have heard of this concept, but our thoughts have a profound physiological effect on our bodies. This is also known as Psycho-neuro-immunology. It is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous system and immune systems of the human body. (PNEI). Whether you believe it or not, the vibes you put out into the world work to attract things to your life or keep them away. If you’re a negative pessimist always in a bad mood, you’re going to attract people who feed that negativity rather than people with a bright outlook and optimism. Your life won’t change for the better, and you won’t find life any easier when you continue to live with so much negativity. You don’t have to believe this if you don’t want, but you should try to see how changing to an attitude of gratitude can affect your life and health. Believe it or not, gratitude is a simple practice that can transform your life one kind gesture at a time.
If you are more interested in this theory I recommend Dr. David and Austin Perlmutter’s book: Brain Wash
If you would like further training for stress and anxiety go here: Stress and Anxiety Reduction
For more studies on Colds, Flu and Virus here are my favorite book recommendations:
Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections by Harrod Buhner
Healthy Healing by Linda Page
Prescription for Herbal Healing, A Reference to Common Disorders and Herbal Remedies by Phyllis Balch CNC
Disclaimer: All the material written in this document is for informational purposes only and is general in nature. Every person is a unique individual and what has worked for some, or even many, may not work for you. The author or person sharing this information does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or outcome of your use of the content. Every attempt has been made to provide well-researched and up-to-date content at the time of writing.
I am Shirley Noah founder of ingoodhealth.com. My mission to transform your life by providing the most innovative and highest quality health solutions.
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