How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
It’s that time of year again! You’ve seen it, you’ve heard it, and maybe you’ve felt it already. Runny noses, coughs, congestion, fever. Cold and flu is running rampant through our offices, schools, and make their way home with us. How can we aim to keep ourselves and our families healthy, especially over the busy holiday season?
First off lets discuss hygiene and a little bit of cold and flu etiquette. Most cold and flu viruses are spread through contact with others who are already sick. One of the best prevention methods is hand washing! Wash your hands properly and frequently. Since it is impossible to wash our hands after every encounter with another person, try to avoid touching your face. You can also use a barrier when you are in high traffic areas. Wear gloves on the TTC and GO Train and launder them weekly (at least). Ready to be grossed out? Studies show that our smartphones have more bacteria than a toilet seat...eww. I don’t think you want to scroll while you eat anymore. It’s true! Google it on your petri dish, I mean phone. You want to stay healthy? Then disinfect your smartphone, laptop, shared items and surfaces at home and at work. If you should unfortunately find yourself ill this season, then please be neighbourly and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. To avoid sharing those unwanted germs, cough or sneeze into the sleeve over your elbow!
Next let’s talk nutrition. What we put into our bodies is critical in decreasing risk of infection, and more importantly optimizing immune system function. When we load up on proper nutrients, we fuel our body with what it is craving most during the dreadful cold and flu season—VITAMINS and MINERALS! Look for foods and supplements rich in Vitamins C and D; and minerals zinc, iron, and selenium. They are the body’s ammunition playing important roles in immune system function. When we are lacking in these nutrients, we are often vulnerable to illness. Go for the colourful veggies, lean proteins, and have your carb be a sweet fruit as your dessert! This one can be especially difficult during the holidays. There is an abundance of sweets and sugary treats around every corner it seems. And if your social calendar is full of events, it’s all too easy to have that extra cup of cheer. It can be difficult to maintain your self discipline and avoid indulging all throughout December! That is why it is even more important to incorporate healthy fruits, and veggies, the good fats (hello avocados), and the right kind of carbs. And guess what, our Healthy is Hot squad has loads of information surrounding nutrition. Just follow this link and educate yourself a little further. Amy Simmonds has written a fantastic article tackling this issue, helping us to navigate the holidays! Thanks Amy! Get a jump start on those New Year’s resolutions and go into the holidays already feeling and looking your best! In keeping with the theme of this article; by doing so you are mitigating the risk of viral infection. If you find life to be too busy and your nutrition game is slipping then be sure to supplement with a multi-vitamin, or in the very least vitamin C to boost that immune system.
Also important is hydration! If you have read my previous articles you know I’m a huge fan of H2O. Drinking water will keep your immune system flushing out any of the nasty cold and flu bugs that you may (unfortunately) meet this winter. Dehydration is often mistaken as hunger. Get on the water bandwagon and make it a goal to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day. You may notice a difference in your consumption habits. Plus, it will make your skin glow letting you shine bright like a diamond all season long.
Lastly, stay home when you’re sick! This one is two-fold in terms of benefits. You will allow your immune system the time to rest and focus on fighting off that sole virus, limiting your exposure to other bugs while you’re down and out. You will also help to stop the spread of germs. We all feel guilty for having to miss work, or social engagements. However, if you’re unwell then you run the risk of making others sick, and possibly prolong the length of the illness. Lacking in sleep makes you more susceptible. Catch some z’s and aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Enjoy the downtime and get plenty of rest so that you can get back to work, meet those year end deadlines, and enjoy your holidays with loved ones.
Wishing you health, happiness, love & light as always HIH fam! I hope you have a great holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas!
Your @HealthyisHot chiropractor -- Dr. Chelsey