Holistic Flu and Cold Prevention

Vol. 11 No. 5

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It’s flu season. Sniffles, sneezes, achy head, sore muscles, fatigue, cough, chills, fever, upset stomach—a perfect storm of symptoms guaranteed to make you feel miserable. Like it’s close cousin the common cold, the flu virus comes on strong and sudden. Symptoms are similar, only when it’s the flu that has struck you, symptoms are intense and lasting—sometimes for up to three weeks.

This year’s flu is powerful. Some medical experts are saying this is the worst flu season they’ve seen in years. Even with a flu shot, those who are contracting the virus are experiencing down periods of a week or greater. Those working around young children and in the medical industry are especially at risk. So, what additional prevention methods can you take to help yourself keep immune? Here are a few holistic tips for keeping yourself healthy this season.

Take your vitamins! Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and zinc are great supplements to stock up on during flu and cold season. They work to enhance your body’s immune system by boosting T cell function and maintaining the integrity of mucus membranes. There are over-the-counter combinations of these available, but for the best defense, purchase individually and talk to your doctor about your optimal daily intake.

Sleep. Sleep is sometimes (often) cut back when you’re working the intense hours your position requires. This isn’t the season to burn the candle at both ends, however. Maintaining a balanced sleep routine is one of the easiest ways to keep your immune system healthy. Adults need seven to nine hours each night to recharge to full capacity.

Avoid refined sugar. Studies have shown that sugary snacks and meals can depress the immune system for several hours, creating a window for the flu virus to strike. Yet, everyone needs to treat themselves every once in awhile. Try to indulge in healthier choices through the flu season. Load your diet with antioxidant rich fruits and veggies, and when you’re in dire need of treat, opt for something that’ll boost your body and your spirit such as a granola bar or dried cranberries and peanuts.

Welcome honey. You want to avoid refined sugar, but welcome natural honey. A clinical study proved that honey worked better than over-the-counter cough syrups in preventing and treating nighttime coughs. Also, honey contains a compound that can be converted into a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and that, along with other antimicrobial and antioxidants, can improve recovery from infections.

Keep your heart healthy. Heart healthy equals immune system healthy. It’s that simple. In addition to an antioxidant-rich diet, consistent sleep, and immune-boosting supplements, maintain a healthy exercise regime. You don’t need to power lift or run 10 miles a day if that’s not your thing. For those who don’t enjoy the gym, a simple 35-minute power walk around the neighborhood three times a week will help keep your heart healthy. Exercises such as yoga and aerobics are also good for reducing stress, which benefits your heart.

For more information about flu and cold symptoms visit WebMD.com.

Additional ISM resources of interest:
Looking to reduce your school’s employee benefit costs and/or establish a wellness program? ISM medical coverages offer creative solutions for budgets of all sizes.
ISM Monthly Update for Risk Managers Vol. 3 No. 4 Warding Off The Flu
ISM Monthly Update for Business Managers Vol. 11 No. 3 Fighting Obesity: Wellness Programs That May Alleviate Health Care Costs
Private School News Vol. 9 No. 3 Spring Is Here … and So Is Hay Fever

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