6 Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu
From dream vacations to job interviews, there are times where you just can’t afford to get sick. So what can you do to make sure you don’t fall under the weather? You can get the flu shot, however this year’s vaccine proved to be only 20% effective against circulating viral strains. The best way to ward off the cough and sniffles are making small changes to your daily life. Read on for six secrets to cold and flu prevention.
1) Get enough sleep
Along with washing your hands regularly, you should be getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. When you’re asleep, cytokines are released in your body. This type of protein regulates your immune system, making it more capable of battling infection.
2) Drink herbal teas and take supplements
Astragalus is an herb that has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect the body from illness. The herb can be dried and used in tea or purchased as drops or tablets. Many people also take vitamin C or zinc supplements to keep germs at bay. If you’re going to start taking supplements, make sure to consult your doctor first as they may cause side effects.
3) Add superfoods to your diet
Superfoods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – all the things your body needs to stay strong. Boost your immunity by consuming foods like fish, blueberries, leafy greens, red peppers, oats, yogurt, citrus fruits, garlic, beans, nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes.
Working out isn’t only good for your physique – it can protect you from illness too. Exercise strengthens your immune system by enhancing circulation, and aids in toxin and waste removal by stimulating your lymphatic system.
When it comes to exercising while sick, it will depend on whether you’re battling a cold or flu. Feel free to continue your regular activities if you’re experiencing a runny nose or other symptoms above the neck. If you’re suffering from a cough, chills, or high fever, it’s a good idea to let your body rest for a few days or until you start feeling better.
5) Avoid alcohol and put out the cigarette
You may want to think twice before downing that bottle of wine. Alcohol dehydrates your body and can hurt dendritic cells (a vital part of your immune system) if you drink in excess. Smoking also increases your risk of infection as it destroys cilia, the fine hairs in your nose and lungs that help sweep away viruses.
6) Try acupuncture and cupping
One lesser known, but effective way to avoid the cold and flu is acupuncture. This ancient Chinese medical tradition elicits a strong relaxation response, which allows your immune system to do its job well. By encouraging blood circulation and augmenting the number of white blood cells, acupuncture helps increase your body’s defenses against germs.
Adding cupping to the mix will further enhance these effects. Cupping also eliminates toxins by making you sweat, and removes phlegm from the upper respiratory tract, an important way to prevent bacteria from multiplying. The lymphatic circulation is dramatically improved with acupuncture and cupping too, an absolute requirement for proper immune function.