Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) released a report suggesting that cases of flu had peaked in recent weeks.
But rather than go crazy and hole up in your house until the flu season passes, we suggest you follow these tried and true tips for avoiding – and recovering from – the flu.
Up the Antioxidant Ante:
Just like in football, when it comes to staving off the flu, a good defense is the best offense. In this case, you’re immune system is the defense, so you’ll want to shore up your supplies of immune strengthening antioxidants including vitamins A, C, and B-complex vitamins and minerals. Studies also show that vitamin E may provide a protective benefit against the flu, so be sure to increase your intake of vitamin E-rich foods including nuts and leafy green vegetables.
Is there nothing a good diet can’t fix? When heading into flu season, you should also up your intake of phytochemicals, the beneficial chemicals found in plants. To make sure you’re getting your daily dose, add more dark leafy green and red and yellow vegetables to your diet.
Again, when facing the flu, you need to make sure your immune response is as strong as possible. And what does stress do? Quite simply, it stifles your immune response. The solution? Relax (we know, easier said than done) and do everything that you can to minimize the stressors in your life.
Catch Some Zzzzs:
Sleep deprivation severely impedes the immune response, so make it your job year round – but particularly during flu season – to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night or try to schedule in some extra nap time to give you – and your body – a chance to recharge the batteries!
Your face that is! Unfortunately for us, the easiest way to contract the cold and flu virus is through the membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth. To avoid passing around your germs, keep your hands to yourself (and off yourself too!)
Depending on where you reside in the country, chances are it’s pretty darn cold out there! However, as much as the weather permits, it is important to get plenty of fresh air during the season. Not only will it give you a break from the stuffy, drying environment of central heating (where bacteria and viruses love to linger), it will also give you a prime opportunity to get some immune-boosting exercise in!
Too late for the prevention advice? Try these tried and true all-natural remedies:
When suffering from a cold it is important to blow your nose regularly (rather than keep sniffling the mucus back into the nasal canal). However, it should be noted that blowing incorrectly -blowing your nose so loudly that you make elephants jealous, for instance – can cause an earache and increase sinus pressure. To correctly blow your nose, cover one nostril at a time and blow gently.
Is there nothing a good gargle can’t do? Not only will it moisten a sore throat, it can also stamp out a tickle and might even speed healing. One tried and true remedy that holistic practitioners swear by is a mixture of steeped raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of water to help sooth inflamed tissues.
When you’re in the throws of a cold, you aren’t going to feel much like eating or drinking. However, the liquid streaming out of your nose does count as fluid and definitely needs to be replaced in order to speed recovery. Kill two birds with one stone by opting for hot broth-based soups which provide liquids to stave off dehydration as well as sooth inflamed membranes in the nose and throat, and vegetables and some protein to give you the energy you need to fight the good fight!
The Nose Knows:
A cold is miserable enough, but the flaking, peeling nose you get after is perhaps even worse! Soothe a sore nose – and help open breathing passages – by dabbing a little mentholated salve under the nostrils. Specifically, look for salves that contain either menthol, eucalyptus or camphor, which all have a mild numbing effect that can help relieve sore noses!
What are your home remedies for fighting and dealing with the icky influenza? Hit us up with a comment!
kiki the cat, WTL Photos, boxercab, dhammza, Sara Cowmuff, nicora, The Pack, A Schultz, rutty Flickr Photos (CC)
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