Cold and flu season comes in stealthily each year, and its not over yet! There are things you can do to help protect yourself against both, as well as things you can do to make your life more comfortable if you contract either one. The most obvious is to get a flu shot. But this is not possible for everyone. Use general common sense and wash your hands, cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and wear a mask if you are going to be in large crowd for a long time; like on an airplane. Here are some things you can do to help.
- Know the difference between a cold and the flu: It is not always easy to tell the difference, especially at the onset of an illness. But generally, the flu is much more severe. The flu is usually accompanied with high fever, aches, chills, and comes on quickly (in 3-6 hours). A cold, generally does not come with a fever or chills, but may have modest achiness, and it comes slowly. Important: If you have a cold, antibiotics will not be effective. If you have the flu, antibiotics will not be effective; neither are bacterial infections. Both are viral infections.
- Meditate: The research behind the benefits of meditation is overwhelming. Not only does it reduce stress (one of the most vicious immunity sappers), it boosts immunity. Of course, living a mindful life also helps with creativity, productivity and efficiency all of which contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness, which in turn boost your immune system. You can meditate just a few moments a day and it helps.
- Sleep: Whether you like it or not, our bodies are designed to operate with about 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you are cutting this short, it weakens all the natural defenses your body has, making you more susceptible to one of the millions of germs that attack your body every day. Get some shut eye.
- Take care of your GI tract. The health of your gastrointestinal tract is directly related to the strength of your immune system. Being sure to eat foods with prebiotics and probiotics is a huge help. “Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they form a symbiotic relationship. Fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, are considered symbiotic because they contain live bacteria and the fuel they need to thrive. Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt, while prebiotics are found in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes. In addition, probiotics and prebiotics are added to some foods and available as dietary supplements
- Use FluNada: According to Susy Cohen, using this homeopathic solution to coat the throat and nasal passages has been proven to protect against germs. The way it works is it prevents the cells with the virus from dividing so it stops the cold or flu in its tracks.
- Drink green tea: Drinking hot fluids like chicken soup has been known to help keep our bodies hydrated and soothed during a cold or flu. But hot green tea (black tea too) is packed with antioxidants which help your body fight off invaders even better. Drinking green tea cold is fine too actually, especially as a regular drink when you are not sick.
- Ignore the adage “starve a cold, feed a fever”. There is no evidence to support this wives’ tale. Eating properly each day should be your priority. But when you are sick, starving yourself will not shorten your illness.