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Tips for Beating the Cold and Flu Season

Never Surrender
Is getting sick during the cold and flu season optional?  As we brace for the “latest bug” did you know that there are a few things you can do to up your body’s natural resistance to cold and flu viruses? Rather than resign to the idea that you are going to get sick, why not try to fortify your health heading into the season and reduce your risk?  There is a lot of helpful advice online that may help you steer clear of sick time over the holiday’s.


The Hands On Approach


Did you know that there are more than 150 different kinds of bacteria on the human hand?  Externally the human body cultivates positive and beneficial bacteria that lives on the hands.  The sweat of our palms is highly acidic (and so are the bacteria that have a positive impact on reducing harmful bacteria on our hands).   Our hands are also acidic to help keep them dry and discourage the growth of bacteria.   Therefore when choosing a hand soap, pick one that has an acidic base.  It will do the best job at removing germs.  Experts estimate that there are about 1,500 germs per square centimeter on the human hand.  If you are going to catch a virus or introduce harmful bacteria into your body, chances are you will be doing it with hand to membrane (nose, mouth or eye) contact.


While hand sanitizers help to reduce the number of bacteria on your hands, did you know that wet hands can reduce the efficacy of most alcohol based products?  To make sure you get the added benefit of using a hand sanitizer consider using one before washing your hands with soap and water.  Contact with your dry skin will in fact kill more bacteria which can be washed away with warm water and soap during regular hand washing.   Change the way you wash your hands  and increase the frequency that you wash them to stay healthy.


Dietary and Exercise Changes


If you live in a climate where the Fall and Winter present with cold weather, you may dramatically change the way you eat for the winter months.    In the summer or hotter months we typically eat more fruits and vegetables (a more bio-diverse nutrient rich diet) and we drink a lot of water to replenish our fluids.  Dehydration remains a priority even in the colder Fall and Winter months and more so since we tend to replace water with caffeine rich substitutes such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate.


While you may be craving the carbohydrate rich foods for Fall, remind yourself to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Not a big fan of snacking on raw vegetables?  Visit Pinterest or other websites for some great smoothie ideas to ensure you get your minimum fruit and vegetable servings each day.  It makes a big difference toward keeping you out of the doctors office during cold and flu season.


Snow and ice (depending on where you live) can also put a damper (or give you the best excuse ever) to eliminate your regular exercise.  Metabolizing glucose and other essential bodily functions work best when you remain physically active.  Not a big fan of the cold?  Getting a swimming pass at the local community pool or gym.  Walk, run or join a class or two for weekly exercise and stay on track during the winter months.


What is your best advice for avoiding the cold and flu virus?  Leave a comment below or tell us on Facebook.

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