Uh oh. What’s this feeling that’s creeping up on you? It starts with a oh-it’s-nothing tingle in the throat, then works its way up into a stuffy nose that’ll soon have you mistaken for Rudolph. Next comes the grand finale of WHY ME? chills, aches and pains that force you under the covers. Yup, it’s flu season—and if you don’t watch out, it’ll be coming for you like winter in Westeros, and those symptoms are not pretty.
We’re all about festive family gatherings and shooshing down a ski slope at this time of year. And the last thing we want is to get stuck inside, moaning, buried under a pile of Kleenex. The good news is that there’s still time to arm yourself against seasonal germs, even as you watch those around you drop like flies. To sidestep the dreaded flu, all you have to do is follow a few smart and simple steps—seven of them, to be exact.
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NATURAL WAYS TO AVOID THE FLU: 7 SIMPLE STEPS TO WELLNESS
Public places—like the gym you hit every day—are crawling with germs. And never more so than during cold and flu season. You may feel paranoid but so what? Just a few simple tricks will help you stay well. For instance, keep your hands off that germ-infested handrail as you climb the stairs at the gym. And wipe down mats and machines, and clean off hand weights before touching them. So what if you need a fanny pack to carry around your wipes? At least you’re feeling strong enough to work out!
Kids know it, so why don’t we? The fact is, washing your hands—borderline obsessively!—is a surefire way to help kill those germs before they attack. Especially during cold and flu season, when those germs are sneaky. But before you get to lathering up, make sure you make it count. That means taking your time choosing a hard-working soap that will get the job done while still keeping your skin feeling soft and conditioned. Hey, just because we’re clean doesn’t mean we need to be dry. In fact, in winter, that’s a rule.
Fluids—either hot or cold—act as flushing agents for bacteria. And bonus: drinking hot beverages like tea, and breathing in their steam, stimulates the hair follicles in your nose and forces those germs out. While you’re avoiding germs, do yourself a favour and forget about visiting that germ-infested water fountain. To make sure you stay hydrated during the flu season, it’s always smart to keep your own water bottle on hand.
Don’t forget to fight germs from the inside out by fueling your body with immune-boosting vitamins and supplements. Vitamin C is your first stop because research shows it not only improves your immune system function but also helps fight off colds and flus. You can eat it, drink it, or take it in pill form. You can also try some other immuno-stimulants to help you fight bacterial, viral and parasitic infections as well as sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and bronchitis.
As tempting as it is, you may need to force yourself to hold off on the Mad Men marathon, depending on the time of day. At some point—and hopefully, it’s on the early side—you have to take your own advice and turn out the lights. Your pillows are waiting and you need to hit them. Hard. Not only does getting a good night’s beauty rest allow your body time to fight infection, but it leaves you feeling (and looking!) your best in the am, when, let’s face it, it counts the most.
You’ve been hearing about probiotics for a while now, right? Well, flu season is surely the best time to give them a try. Not only do they aid with digestion, which balances the good and bad bacteria in the body, but they’ll also help your immune system fight potential allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders and infections. So go pro and feel yourself getting stronger all through the winter.
They say it’s important to feed a cold, but really, it’s most important to feed your body before it fails you. Go for healthy options in a well-balanced diet, and make sure your snacks include lots of vitamin-rich fruits, veggies, and nuts. Be sure to avoid foods that make you feel under the weather, especially before bed. And whenever possible, plan your diet in advance. Skipping meals or snacking all day long will leave your body feeling weaker and more prone to infection.
Got your own flu fighting tips? Share them in the comments.