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Fight the Flu

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Tips to Stay Healthy This Flu Season

It’s that time of year: Coughing, sneezing, people using hand sanitizer and bringing in boxes of tissues to the office. The flu or “influenza” has arrived, and many of your coworkers, friends and family have it — and aren’t necessarily taking measures to prevent spreading it. Don’t worry, you can help protect yourself.

Besides getting vaccinated, stay away from people who are ill and wash your hands to reduce the spread of germs. And, if you do get sick, stay home to help avoid spreading it more.

What else can you do to help contain the flu? Actually, lots. Here are some preventative tips to help you through flu season.

Do the elbow cough.

Hands are more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch, so cough into your elbow.

Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are spread this way.

Clean and disinfect.

Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work or school, especially when people are sick. Don’t forget to clean cell phones, microwaves, computer accessories, doorknobs, locker handles, elevator buttons and the armrests on your desk chair.

Get plenty of sleep.

Sleep is something you need lots of when you’re sick. Research says our bodies need seven to eight hours of sleep to stimulate an immune response from our “natural killer cells (NK cells),” which attack viruses.

Skip the alcohol.

Alcohol interferes with the quality of your sleep, especially REM sleep, the most restorative part of your sleep cycle.

Drink tea.

Hot black or green tea with lemon and honey are great options. Drinking tea and breathing in the steam stimulates the cilia, the hair follicles in your nose, which help to move out germs more efficiently. In addition, lemon thins mucous and honey has antibacterial properties.

Get your protein.

Research indicates that a diet too low in protein can deplete your immune system. Be sure to add protein-rich foods, like fish, eggs and yogurt, to your diet.

Breathe out.

If you walk past someone who is sneezing or coughing, try this: Gently and slowly breathe out until you’re 6 to 10 feet past the person. This keeps you from breathing in the contaminated air.

Try over-the-counter supplements.

If you have a scratchy throat and think you might be getting sick, try an over-the-counter supplement such as Cold-Eeze or Emergen-C. They can help relieve your symptoms, support your immune system and help you recover more quickly.

BYOP.

Bring your own pen to the bank, grocery store, doctor’s office or ATM. Use it instead of the “provided” pens to avoid picking up additional germs. You can also use it to touch the keys at the ATM.

Relax.

Massages help to increase circulation and boost immunity by nourishing cells with more oxygen and blood. A massage not only helps you relax, but when you’re relaxed, you often feel less stress, which improves your health.

Drink water.

Water very effectively flushes toxins out through your lymph system, so drink a lot to help support the process.

Get your fruits and veggies.

During cold and flu season — or anytime — make your own juice mixes by combining things such as kale, broccoli, apple, arugula, parsley, cucumber, carrots, Swiss chard, lemon and mint. Have fun experimenting. You can also feel good knowing you’re getting your daily allowances of fruits and vegetables.

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