Preparations for flu season: Prevention

When it comes to surviving the cold and flu season you need to look at prevention, symptom management, and recovery. Starting with prevention, consider the following in your efforts to say healthy and happy:

  • Wash your hands. Viruses are dealt with far better by hand washing than with alcohol sanitizers. Since the majority of colds and flus are viral, it is important to wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or rubbing your eyes.

  • Avoid putting objects or fingers in your mouth. If you have a habit of chewing on pens or pencils or finger nails this can be a source for exposure to pathogens. These habits take time to break, but they are not helpful in cold and flu season.

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands. The membranes around your eyes are easy access points for pathogens because they are always moist, so don't rub them with dirty fingers

  • Avoid exposure to people who are cough, sneezing or otherwise appear to be sick. If you are sick, then save everyone else the trouble and stay home from work. The extra rest will help you recover faster and you will reduce the risk of spreading it to your productive coworkers.

  • Take a multivitamin. Your body requires nutrients to fight off infection, so you will want to replenish its stores of useful cofactors regularly. Even if you don't feel sick, your immune system is actively fighting off infections all the time.

  • Take an immune boosting herbal supplement. There are many options out there and I would leave it to your health care provider to let you know which is best for your situation. At the very least, drink fresh ginger tea regularly.

  • Take a probiotic periodically. Studies of infants have shown that probiotics can help reduce the frequency of colds. These beneficial bacteria help force out the bad strains that make you sick. It may be overkill to take these all the time, but if you know you have been exposed or are going to be exposed, it can help to take some for a few days.

  • Get a good nights sleep. Sleep is essential to good immune function, and without a restful nights sleep you will be more susceptible to infection.

  • If you feel you need it, get a flu shot. Bear in mind that the flu shot is based on viruses that were spread months ago and are estimates of what you might face during this flu season. Also keep in mind that the preservatives in vaccines are usually aluminum or mercury which are not helpful for brain function and may linger in the body for years. Be aware that a flu shot causes an immune response which temporarily consumes the immune resources leaving you vulnerable to infection. Finally, if you are already sick then you should wait until you are better before getting a flu shot.

  • If you can follow these recommendations, you will be well on your way to preventing many of the colds and flus that come your way.

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