Flu Prevention Naturally
Preventing the Flu
Once you have the flu it seems like it takes forever to get rid of it. And to top it off, your body's lowered defenses make you susceptible every bug floating around in the air. So, along with the flu, you probably have a cold.
The good news is, there are various natural ways of preventing the flu. Nonetheless, many health experts would agree that there are no known cures for the common cold or flu. So the best thing to do is protect yourself from all bugs that are just dying to make you ill.
When it comes to being proactive against the flu there are several natural methods of prevention. But before you read on, keep in mind that if your symptoms persist then call a healthcare specialist as soon as possible. As well, this article is not intended as medical advice.
Precautions You Can Take
There are a few steps that you can take throughout the day to help prevent the flu. Just a little bit of mindful attention might keep you from catching a nasty cold or flu bug.
Don't Cover Your Mouth
Many people were taught that covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is the polite thing to do. I must admit, I have to agree. Unfortunately, viruses and germs will cling onto your hands making it easier to infect others with the first thing you touch. It is best to use a handkerchief when you have to cough or sneeze. But we all know that a sneeze will usually come on suddenly. The next best thing is to cough or sneeze into the side of your elbow. If that fails then use your hands to prevent germs from spreading and then go wash your hands immediately.
Wash Your Hands
You should always wash your hands often, especially if you work with the public. The majority of flu viruses are spread by direct contact with common items like doorknobs, counters, public drying towels, staircase handles, keyboards, telephones, cups, glasses and other items. When a person sneezes or coughs the germs land on whatever is closest. What many people don’t realize is that germs can live for many hours. In truth, the germs wait for the next victim to pick up or touch the infected item. So wash your hands as often as you can!
Don't Touch Your Face
A common mistake that parents make is touching the face of their child when they are sick. This may seem cold hearted, particularly when your little one does not feel well. However, flu viruses enter your body through your mouth, eyes and nose. It is much better to stop the cold or flu from spreading rather than making everyone in the household sick.
Get Regular Exercise
One of the best natural ways of preventing the flu is to get plenty of exercise. Moderate to vigorous exercise speeds up the heart rate and pumps more blood to the system. This helps you breathe easier and sends oxygen from your lungs to your blood. Sweating also boosts the body’s defense system by flushing out infections and ugly virus cells.
Get Your Exercise
Omit or Decrease Cigarettes & Alcohol
While your body is trying to heal from a cold or the flu it is best to eliminate cigarettes and alcohol. If you are unable to quit then at least reduce your consumption. Studies show that cigarettes can weaken your immune system. In fact, research shows that heavy smokers usually get more brutal colds that last a lot longer. Heavy alcohol use also suppresses the immune system. Actually, heavy drinkers are more susceptible to catching and keeping a virus for longer compared to those you drink on occasion. Alcohol also dehydrates the body. Just remember in order to heal faster, additional liquids are definitely needed.
Have you had the flu this winter? What was your approach?
Eat Foods that Contain Phytochemicals
The name phytochemical is derived from the word phyto which means “plant” in Greek. They are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. It is the phytochemicals in plants that give the vitamins in food an amplified boost. These chemicals help protect plants from bugs, germs, fungi and other dangers. According to numerous health specialists, phytochemicals may help prevent disease and keep your body working efficiently. Some researchers suggest that phytochemicals may lower rates of heart disease, certain types of cancer and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Foods that contain phytochemical are dark green, yellow, and red vegetables and fruits. Other plant-based foods also contain phytonutrients like whole grains, legumes and nuts.
Believe it or not, studies show that relaxing may actually boost your immune system. Equally, stress can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and flu. Research suggests that relaxation release more interleukins into your bloodstream. Interleukins are a substance extracted from white blood cells that stimulates immune response that can fight infection or reduce inflammation.
Just remember not to force relaxation. Being bored or forcing relaxation does not stimulate interleukins. Here are a few ways to help you relax:
- Take a hot bath
- Put up your feet
- Take a walk outdoors
- Don’t forget to breathe
- Try moderate stretching
- Take a yoga or Tai Chi’ class
Add Germ Fighting Foods to Your Diet
Aside from everyday methods of preventing the flu there are superfoods that may help combat viruses and bacteria. Here are a few:
Ginger: Contains antiviral properties and is known to help fight infections. Make an easy ginger tea by adding freshly peeled and sliced ginger to hot filtered water. Allow the ginger root too steep for 10 minutes. You can also add ginger to numerous meals for extra prevention.
Peppermint: Acts as an expectorant to rid the body of mucus, kills bacteria and viruses, calms and soothes an aching body, breaks up phlegm and relieves coughs and congestion. Peppermint leaf can be consumed as a tea. Peppermint tincture can also be added to an infuser as a decongestant.
Garlic: Fresh garlic is a powerful antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal. Garlic is also known to boost the immune system. Fresh raw garlic is the best for optimal health benefits. Instead of chewing it raw which will give you garlic breath for hours try adding it to your meals. Garlic is quite versatile and can be added to just about anything such as soups, casseroles, Mexican food, Italian food, bread and even fresh vegetable juice.
Lemons: High in vitamin C and known to support the immune system. Some studies claim that lemons actually speed up the healing process and lesson your symptoms. Try adding lemon to some herbal tea or mix it with filtered water and raw honey to soothe the throat.