Every fall and winter we brace for flu and cold season. Not only do we have to endure shorter days, colder weather, and barren vegetation, but we have to be on the alert for these illnesses that can sideline us for days or weeks at a time. The good news is there are some things you can do to help prevent these sicknesses from getting you down. Here are some natural things you can do to protect yourself.
- Probably the most important thing is to WASH your hands. Not just after you go to the bathroom but a several times throughout the day. Germs are mostly spread by others with dirty hands. These germs can live for several hours on your hands. If you aren’t able to use soap and water try using some hand sanitizer. While sanitizer isn’t quite as effective as soap and hot water, it’s better than nothing.
- Cut out smoking and heavy drinking. This is good advice in general, not just for trying to avoid colds or flu. There are several reasons behind this. Smoking dries out your nasal passages and lungs. There are little hairs in there that help keep these viruses out. With heavy drinking, this suppresses your immune system….so don’t do it J
- Do aerobic exercise! Exercising helps promote virus killing cells in your body. So get out and run or jump on the tread mill during your favorite t.v. show. Twenty to thirty minutes is enough to get the heart pumping and sweat rolling.
- If you have to cough or sneeze, do it on your sleeve on the inside of your elbow. Sneezing or coughing in your hands will spread germs everywhere you touch.
- Along with #4, keep your hands away from your face. The way that colds and flu enter your body is through your mouth, nose and eyes. Think of this area as sacred territory not to be touched.
- Get plenty of sleep. A solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help to keep your immune system ready to fight virus intruders.
- Eat healthy. There are a ton of vitamins and nutrients in REAL food. By real food I mean fruits and vegetables. Vitamin pills aren’t quite the same. You need the real deal. Go to your local grocery store and stock up on healthy fruits and veggies.
Now that you’ve read this blog with fine detail and have strictly followed everything I’ve said, you may still end up with the cold or flu. Sorry, that’s the world we live in. However the good news is that if you do all these things you have a better chance of not getting the cold or flu than you did if you didn’t do these things.
Here’s to your health!
Dr. K Bennett
Sunshine Medical Clinic is a family friendly medical practice in Madison, TN that helps individuals and families feel better and get back on their feet.