Easiest and Smartest Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu

By on February 18, 2013

A new trend has been sweeping the globe recently; there appears to no longer be a cold and flu "season." Rather, it appears to occur at any and all times yearly, with serious circumstances if left unchecked. So what's a good plan?

Easiest and Smartest Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu To be offensive in your defense. Yes, all it simply means is to enforce stringent preventative methods, and you should be safe year round. After all, I haven't gotten sick in more than 5 years so I must be doing something right, right?

Top 14 Tips To Avoid Colds and Flu This Year:

  1. Eliminate Sugars- as if you didn't have enough reason to knock out these pesky dietary demons, it is now known that sugars can suppress immune function for long periods of time, usually up to 6 hours. During this period of time, viruses and bacteria have happy hour on your body, making you very likely to pick up some kind of infection. In addition, if you currently have a cold, it may be best to lay off the sugary stuff, as you risk delaying your recovery even more.
  2. Wash and Wash Some More- hand washing has long been advocated by health officials, and for good reason; this can be one of the simplest practices to avoid cold or flu infection. As these infections are airborne, they can easily be found on numerous solid surfaces that we come into contact with daily; door handles, keyboards and even money! Of note, however, is that you should wash with soap, preferably antibacterial. Wash as often as possible, or at the least, wash with hand sanitizer. At work, use antibacterial wipes to clean your phone, keyboard or workstation before and after you use them to kill any germs, someone else's or yours.
  3. Sleep well- the benefits of sleep are too many to mention, but in the context of this discussion, it plays a crucial role in all round health. During sleep, growth hormone is released, which has an immunity boosting effect, as well as increases in protein synthesis. For those of you reading this that don't know, many cells of the immune system are composed of proteins, with  decrease in protein synthesis hampering recovery and natural defense. Now, you may understand what is meant by overworking at the expense of your health.
  4. Exercise- many persons do exercise with one goal in mind- looking better, with the "side effects" of becoming healthier. The key however, appears to be moderation, since too much exercise too frequently can hamper recovery, a scenario referred to as over-training syndrome. As little as 30 minutes of exercise performed at least 5 times weekly can boost immune function significantly.
  5. Eat Your Way to Health- strangely, there are many foods that we can consume by themselves or add to meals to boost immune strength. Pepper contains a component known as capsaicin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant and anti-bacterial. Garlic, oregano and turmeric are also excellent spices to add to your diet. In addition, the numerous fruits and vegetables that we can consume are full of bioflavonoids and antioxidants that boost immunity.
  6. Drink Lots of Fluids- staying hydrated is a great way to boost your immune system. Warm liquids, such as vegetable soups and broths, are especially effective. Drinking lots of water is also important. Avoid consuming highly sweetened fruit juices and other beverages as they are full of the sugars mentioned above that are harmful to your immune system.
  7. Vitamins/Minerals- common cold supplements include Vitamins A, C and zinc. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can be taken once a day in a dose of 15,000 - 25,000 IU. Vitamin C can be taken several times a day, in doses of 500-1,000 mg, to a maximum of one to four grams. Research has shown that zinc lozenges are effective in the prevention and treatment of sore throats and colds.
  8. Saline Nasal Spray and/or Room Humidifier - Air gets much drier in the winter, which in turn dries the mucous membranes of your nose. These membranes work best when they are moist. They rely on moisture, in order to trap microbial invaders, which helps protect you from getting sick. So, try using a room humidifier. Interestingly, flu viruses stay mobile in dry air longer than they do in moist conditions. Using a saline solution to keep you nasal passages moist is also a smart idea.
  9. Avoid Touching Your Nose, Mouth and Eyes- If at all possible, try to avoid rubbing your nose and eyes or putting your hands in your mouth. All these activities are potential ways of bacteria entering into your system since your hands are constantly coming in contact with germy surfaces. It is also a sensible idea to use a fork when eating traditional "finger" foods as this can keep bacteria or viruses on your hands out of your mouth. In social situations, always try to take the opportunity to wash your hands before you eat, especially if you have been shaking hands with others.
  10. Cover Your Mouth and Nose- Your mother always told you to cover your mouth and nose with your hands when you coughed or sneezed as a child. Today, the accepted way to avoid spreading germs is to instead, cough or sneeze into the crook of you elbow, if you don't have a tissue.
  11. Go Disposable- sharing things like cups and towels Is a perfect way to spread cold and flu germs. So, when one of your family members is sick, try using paper/plastic products that can be thrown out after a single us until such time as they feel better.
  12. Quit Smoking- as we all know, there are many health benefits to quitting smoking. However, you may not know that smoking can make you more susceptible to getting the flu. Smoking can lead to inflammations of the nasal membranes. Eventually, this will make the nose more prone to picking up infections. Second hand smoke can affect others as well. So, if you can't quit, at the very least smoke outside reducing the risk of making others sick.
  13. Relieve Stress- excessive stress can put your immune system at rest. Try to avoid stressful situations when you are ill. Also, try measures such as a warm bath before bed, meditation or yoga.
  14. Stay Away from Other "Sickies"- Since the common cold and flu are airborne, the absolute best advice, to avoid catching these germs is to stay at least 6 to 10 feet, if not more, away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. If you happen to be the one who is sneezing or coughing, please, please, stay home to avoid spreading your germs to others.

The saying "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" is applicable in every sense when it comes to avoiding the cold. By making tiny changes to your lifestyle, you save yourself unnecessary suffering for days.

Michael Jessimy
Michael Jessimy
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
Michael Jessimy is head Pharmacist at one of the largest retail chain pharmacies in Guyana. He is also an accomplished amateur level heavyweight bodybuilder, as well as a former National Elocution Champion. Finally, he has taken his passion for fitness to the next level, being a self published author on the Amazon Kindle Platform.

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