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Staying Healthy During Flu Season

01.14.13 Staying Healthy During Flu Season

This year's flu season is a real doozy. And according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) this flu storm is still on the uptick as we are only in week 5 of a typical 12 week duration. Since this flu strain is more severe, (even referred to as the worst in a decade) it's inevitable that prevention is on most people's minds these days.

Whether or not you and your family are vaccinated against the flu, chances remain that you may still experience sickness. So, focusing on how to prevent sickness from ending up in your home, here are some simple steps to help keep it at bay.

WASH HANDS REGULARLY: Washing hands with soap and warm water for a good 20 seconds is an effective way to keep our hands clean. Avoid the temptation of conventional antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers! They often contain the chemical triclosan (and are positioned in most public places) and really do more harm than good. Instead, keep up with a good hand washing or triclosan-free hand sanitizer. Make it fun and pick a song to sing to help calibrate the time.

REST: Sleep is vital to our well-being. It's the time when our body is undergoing restoration and also a time when our hormones regulate the immune system. Adults tend to need 7-8 hours of sleep (although many manage on less) where children NEED consistent sleep: school age =10 hours and toddlers=12 hours.

EAT REAL FOODS: Strive to make your plate a rainbow of the freshest real foods to build a strong immune system. Vitamins A, B6, C and E are essential for maintaining healthy immunity. And remember to add these tasty flavors and virus fighting/immune building foods into your repetoire: GARLIC, GINGER, CITRUS, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, ELDERBERRY, CAYENNE + TURMERIC.

STAY ACTIVE: getting regular exercise helps the body release toxic buildup. Fresh air and vitamin D from the sun are also key.

KEEP OBJECTS/SURFACES CLEAN: Make a concerted effort to keep everyday objects clean so the possibility of passing through multiple hands doesn't = more on the sick side. We recommend using a surface cleaner that isn't laden with chemicals but made with effective cleaning ingredients like vinegar, lemon and essential oils.

AVOID TOUCHING...your eyes, nose and mouth as these are obvious entry points to become infected.

But even if you are diligent about protecting yourself...sometimes you just fall sick.

To help speed things up for a faster recovery and to help ease the discomforts that come along with the flu, here are some ways to prepare for nursing your sick loved one (or yourself!)

  • neti pot: cleanses and soothes nasal passages.
  • nose frida nasal aspirator: aka "snot sucker" and perfect for congested kids under age 3.
  • bath soaking salts: calms and relieves aches and soreness and helps to eliminate toxins.
  • oregano essential oil: apply (diluted with carrier oil like almond or coconut oil) to the soles of the feet
  • olba's oil: As an inhalant, great for opening nasal passages when congested. As an oil, use for muscle tension and headaches.
  • chest rub: soothing, warming and comforting without petroleum
  • gargle with warm salt water
  • drink hot liquids and soups: prevents dehydration, relieves nasal congestion and soothes inflamed membranes.
  • avoid caffeinated beverages: dehydrates!
  • skip the dairy: increases mucus production
  • cut out sugar: weakens immune system and causes inflammation
And of course, continue to rest, avoid large gatherings and work (if you can) and when you're better, change your toothbrush!
What measures do you take to protect yourself from the flu and common cold?
What do you do for yourself and your family when you're on the mend?
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