It is no fun being sick. Colds and flu challenge your immune system with a vengeance. There are measures to take to avoid feeling so wasted and drained.
Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Drinking extra water and other fluids keeps toxins diluted and flushed from the body.
Eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily boosts the immune system, especially those loaded with vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin aids the body to fight colds and flu symptoms. Since vitamin C is not stored in the body it is important to resupply with it every day.
Citrus fruits and juice are the vitamin C superstars that we think of the most. Add these fruits and vegetables to the list that are high in vitamin C: peppers; kiwi; raw, dark leafy greens; purple or red grapes; purple, blue or red berries; and raw broccoli.
Maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise is recommended to boost the immune system. Colds and viruses are no match for a healthy body with toned muscles. This is just another good reason to get up from your favorite TV chair and move around. Sitting for more than two hours without exercise is considered as unhealthy as smoking a cigarette.
Drinking adult beverages is acceptable but self-control is the key. Moderation is defined as one drink for women and two for men per day as a maximum. A drink equals one ounce of alcohol, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 12-ounce beer.
A lack of sleep adds stress to the body’s immune system. The stress hormone, corticosteroid, can suppress the fighting ability of immunities. Not getting enough sleep combined with the daily stressors of home and work can invite colds and viruses to attack the body.
Just as water is important inside the body, it is also valuable outside the body. Washing the germs and bacteria down the drain can eliminate them from your life. A study of elementary children revealed that the classrooms that wash their hands more often experience lower cases of colds and flu.
When washing your hands don’t just turn on the faucet and wet the tips of your fingers. Use warm water to wet your palms and the back of your hands. Create a lather. Rub your fingers down to where they connect to the palm of your hand.
Research reveals that it is the rubbing for at least 10 seconds that eliminates more bacteria than the soap itself. The friction of your hands allows the germs and dirt to slide down the drain with the bubbles.
Rinse with warm water and use a clean towel or disposables to dry. If someone in the house or office is sick, use individual towels. Don’t share illness while drying.
Despite the unusual warm temperatures, winter is here. Getting a flu shot protects from certain cold-weather bugs. It is no fun being sick. Take care.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.