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Prevent the flu with these immune boosting tips

Updated on September 28, 2014
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There is no denying it any longer…we are in the start of cold and flu season, and this year it seems to be starting early. Now is the time to arm ourselves against the virus with as much protection as possible - especially if you decided to forgo vaccination - because prevention is such a better option than treating the illness once it sets in.

Supplement with Vitamin C, zinc and selenium

Studies have shown that a sufficient vitamin C and zinc intake reduces the incidence and shortens the duration of respiratory tract infections; while selenium is an antioxidant that reduces the level of free radicals in the body. If your body is deficient in selenium, you will be more susceptible to illness; which is common in people with thyroid problems or gastrointestinal issues. Drinking a green juice every day can help to ensure you are getting enough of these valuable nutrients; but supplements will work in a pinch.

Party a little less hard

Drinking in excess impairs the immune system, and so does an insufficient amount of sleep. College students are especially susceptible to the flu, due to a lifestyle often packed with parties, all-nighters and exposure to thousands of other (often sick) students. And ladies, drinking while premenstrual is about the surest way possible to get sick — the week before your period is when your immune system is at its lowest lowest.

Be wise about a new exercise routine

Beginning exercise again after a period of abstinence can be an assault on your immune system if you go too hard, too fast. While exercise is generally synonymous with health, beginning too strenuous of a routine before your body is conditioned for it will run you down. Stress lowers the immune system, and a sudden physical exertion will be seen by the body as a source of stress.

Stop touching your face

The eyes, mouth and nose are full of mucous membranes, which are the easiest places for a virus to enter the body. Rubbing your eyes, scratching your nose, or eating with your fingers after touching public surfaces is just asking for infection. Even better, stop touching other things. Leave your gloves on when you are grocery shopping (it’s always cold in there anyway), bump the automatic door opener at the mall with your elbow instead of grabbing the handle, carry your own pen around instead of signing receipts with the pen offered to you, etc.

Add healthy fats to your diet

I’m talking omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish, avocado, flax, olives, olive oil and coconut oil. Adherents to the Paleo diet swear by bone broth as an immune-booster, some drinking a cup of it daily during the cold and flu season.

Be a tea-totaler

It would appear that drinking tea may also sharpen the body’s defense against disease. I’ve been a tea drinker for many years, and whether it has boosted my immune system or not, I can say that the act of drinking something warm has been a comfort when I’m under the weather.

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Sleep it off

I already mentioned this, but I cannot stress enough how important a full night’s sleep is for the health of your immune system. A lack of sleep is a stressor, just like physical exertion. If your body has to work harder to keep you going during the day, it won’t be able to work as hard at keeping out invading viruses.

There are lots of other ways to avoid the flu, as well as ways to avoid spreading it. I would hope grown men and women already know enough to cover their cough or to sneeze into a shoulder or elbow instead of their hands; and for goodness sake, to wash their hands! I’m always horrified when I see someone exit a restroom without hand washing. It’s such a basic way to protect yourself from the flu. Another, final basic rule: if you have a fever, stay home. You are at your most contagious when you have one, and your coworkers will appreciate not being infected.

How do you stay healthy?

© 2014 FindWholeness

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great tips for keeping the flu bug away.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Good advice overall to prevent the flu. I would add to that to take Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D has been found to help boost the immune system and prevent both colds and flues, but you have to take it in high enough amounts to make a real difference in your immune system.