That is exactly what I asked myself this past week. We survived a crazy, crazy thanksgiving weekend, only to all come down with the cold my daughter brought home from nursery school, I knew it was time to do some research. I needed to see what I can give my family to support their immune systems, and what we can work on teaching the kids about how to keep healthy.
The first, and probably easiest, thing you can do is wash your
hands. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. So, not to make a germaphobe of you, but if someone who has a cold or flu sneezes or coughs onto their hands and then touches a telephone, door handle, keyboard, or shopping cart, the next person who touches the same object will pick up the virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will wash the germs right down the drain. It’s only 20 seconds, so make sure you make time to wash your hands before you prepare food or eat. If you can’t wash your hands try using a hand sanitizer like ‘Clean Well’ which uses thyme essential oil to disinfect and is alcohol free.
The next thing to do is sneeze or cough into your elbow, or a
tissue. Germs and viruses cling to bare skin, so coughing and sneezing into your hand leads to you passing along your germs to others. If you have a tissue handy, sneeze or cough into it and then throw it away immediately. If not, simply sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow. Next to hand washing this is probably the easiest thing you can teach your kids, cause no one enjoys having someone cough directly in your face, like will kids often do. (Over the course of this week we were able to teach my daughter to cough into her elbow:) it is easy to teach, although reminders are necessary.)
The next couple of suggestions are part of living a healthy lifestyle, and go a long way to keeping you from getting sick...
1. Get enough sleep – a good night’s rest allows your body to keep up its defences, so aim for a minimum of 8 hours of zzzzz’s
2. Drink your water – 6-8 glasses a day helps keep you hydrated, keeps your digestion working well, flushes your system and helps fight fatigue
3. Exercise – regular exercise will not only make you feel good and increase your energy, but it also helps to increase your body’s natural virus killing cells
4. Eat lots of fruits & vegetables – they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help keep you healthy and boost your immune system
5. Don’t overbook yourself – the more over-packed your schedule, the more quickly you can become run down which means your immune system is also low and you will most likely become sick
6. Try active relaxation – some research suggests that actively relaxing (ie. Mediation, visualisation, yoga) may help to boost your immune system, along with helping you better manage stress
7. Let some fresh air in – at least once a week, even when it is cold out, open a window to let the stale, unhealthy air out and the fresh air in
One last thing to try is supplements. A couple of things that
seem to boost your immune system or help you to better fight off a cold or flu include ... vitamins C,D,A, zinc, Omega-3 oils, Astragals, Echinacea, Oil of Oregano ... I am sure there are many more things you can look at taking to help support your body, talk to a Naturopathic Dr, your local health food store, your pharmacist, or even your family Dr for more suggestions that are right for you.
I hope that these suggestions enable you and your family to survive and thrive this cold and flu season! Be Healthy