Do you often miss work or cancel plans because of a cold or flu you can’t kick? Do you get sick after every airline flight? Here are seven natural tips to keep you from being the next victim of cold and flu season.
1) Drink plenty of water. Viruses and bacteria colonize dry, inflamed throat membranes more easily than moist ones. Water also thins mucus and keeps it from accumulating. Winter is an important time to keep up your water intake (6-8 cups/day for most people). Caffeine-free herbal tea counts towards your water requirement.
2) Limit caffeine. Caffeine dehydrates you, countering your efforts to consume enough water.
3) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. When others are sick, your hands come into contact with their germs on door handles, light switches, computer keyboards, hand-held telephones, etc. You can’t avoid all exposure, but you can reduce the chance of infecting your respiratory tract by washing your hands frequently. Note: hand sanitizer gels kill off beneficial bacteria on your skin as well as harmful bacteria. Regular soap and water preserve your skin’s natural defenses. Reserve sanitizer gels for when soap and water aren’t available.
4) Get adequate sleep. Healthy immune function requires adequate rest. Lighten your schedule if you’re fighting off illness.
5) At the first sign of illness, stop all sugar. When you feel that scratchy throat, inflamed sinus or general “blah” feeling, recognize that your immune system is asking for support. Sugar can suppress your immune defenses for up to 12 hours – not helpful when your body needs immune support. Concentrated sugar sources include white sugar, agave and maple syrup as well as sugar-containing cereals, energy bars, ice cream and baked goods.
6) Change your pillowcase nightly until you’re well. You guessed it: you can reinfect yourself by breathing germs back in.
7) Change your toothbrush once you’re on the mend. Reduce the risk of reintroducing harmful bugs to your throat and respiratory tract.
If you’re particularly susceptible due to cancer, chronic stress or other immune-compromising condition, I can set you up on a natural preventive regimen. If you’re already sick, I can help shorten the duration of your illness. Just call me at 866.678.8577.
What helps you stay well during cold and flu season? I hope you’ll share your tips below.