Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season
’Tis the season for coughs, drips, sore throats, and fevers. Here’s how to prepare and weather it!
CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING
Unfortunately, cold and flu season coincides with the holiday season. This means lots of flying in airplanes with that lovely recycled and recirculated air! A general rule is that if you’re sitting within six feet of someone who is sneezing or coughing, you stand a large likelihood of catching their virus.
Cautions to exercise when flying? Doctors recommend that you drink a lot of water and use a saline nasal spray to keep your mucous membranes moist. In addition, utilizing a mouth and nose covering and taking Airborne won’t hurt either.
Sleep helps the body function at an optimum level. If you get seven to eight hours of rest a night, you’ll be less likely to become sick, and if you do catch something, you’ll recover faster.
As tempting as it can be to “sweat out” an illness, the doctors over at WebMD recommend that you do a ‘neck check’. IE: If your symptoms are in or above your neck―say, if you have a stuffy nose, a headache, and a mildly sore throat and you’re sneezing―it’s fine to work out, but if your symptoms extend below the neck―if you have a cough, a fever, body aches, or chills―take a break from exercising until you feel better.
Cold temperatures and low humidity, indoors and out, can irritate or damage your airways. Air pollution, indoor dust, and ash from fireplaces can also act as irritants, causing inflammation and making it easier for germs to enter your system.
Staying well hydrated keeps the tissues of the respiratory system moist and helps the immune system work properly. Also, using a saline nasal spray during the day and sleeping with a humidifier on at night will help keep your mucous membranes moist.
According to HealthyEating.org, fresh garlic may boost your immune system, increasing resistance to infection and stress. Yogurt and other cultured milk products contain probiotics, beneficial bacterial with immune-boosting benefits. Look for the “live active culture” seal, which indicates that probiotics have been added.Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, may also help the body’s immune system. Lastly, Zinc, found in meat, chicken, peanuts and peanut butter, plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system in the body.
If you’re already sick, add lots of fresh ginger and chicken noodle soup to your diet! Fresh ginger root can help you when you are sick by inducing sweating. Chicken soup and warm beverages increase the flow of nasal secretions, helping alleviate cold symptoms.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Easier said than done when you’re busy! Still, this tried-and-proven method is the most simple and most effective way to keep from catching a cold or flu. Wash your hands and keep hand sanitizer in your car, at work and definitely in your gym bag and bathroom!