Cold and flu season is here, and once it makes an inroad at your house, it may really make life miserable for all of you. If you want to be better prepared for it, set yourself up right with some preventative measures.
You can’t avoid every cold virus that’s going around, but you may be able to minimize the risk to yourself and your family (or at the very least, get through it with minimal downtime).
Some of these tips are common sense, and some might take some effort, but the payoff of a healthy family is definitely worth it. Just remember, prevention is always cheaper than the cure…
20 Natural Health Tips for Cold and Flu Season
- Wash your hands frequently, especially when returning home from a public place. Stay away from “antibacterial” soaps with triclosan – soap and water does the trick.
- Change your hand towels often. Using a common towel may pass germs from one person to another, so a sick person should have their own towel to use.
- Clean the places that harbor the most germs in your house – refrigerator doors and handles, bathroom faucets, doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, telephones, dishwasher handles, salt and pepper shakers, toys, and of course, your hands!
- Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep will negatively affect your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. Be aware of what your body needs (8 hours may not be enough for you), and supplement it with quick cat-naps of 15 to 30 minutes if you can.
- Stay hydrated. Living and working inside with the heat on can really dry you out, and it’s more difficult to remember to drink water when it isn’t hot outside.
- Take your vitamins. Find a good whole-food based multivitamin for you and your family, especially if you aren’t eating as healthy as you know you should.
- Get sunshine on your body. Exposing yourself to the sun every day boosts vitamin D production and helps to lift your mood, which affects your immune response.
- Be active – move your body. Regular exercise, especially vigorous exercise, keeps your body healthy and offsets the negative effects of our modern sedentary lifestyle. Try some yoga for a gentle way to help your body’s lymph system clean itself out.
- Be positive. Having a positive outlook may be one of the most important things you do for your health.
- Laugh. Humor is good medicine, so find a corny movie or watch some stand-up comedy and just laugh.
- Vitamin C. I am a big fan of Emergen-C. Just mix with water for a fizzy, energizing drink.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Vegetables and fruits are nutritional powerhouses, and with citrus coming into season in the winter, eating lots of oranges is a cheap way to support your immune system.
- Drink your juice. Got a juicer? Flush your body with raw fruit and vegetable juices.
- Use herbs for healing. Astragalus, osha root, echinacea, and elderberry extract are widely used and easily found in health food stores and co-ops.
- Use a neti pot. A neti pot can help to keep your sinuses clear and healthy, whether you’re sick or not.
- Get a massage. A massage will help to support your lymphatic system and flush toxins from your body.
- Take it easy on the coffee and alcohol. At the first sign of illness, try taking a break from coffee and alcohol to give your liver less to deal with.
- Just say no. When feeling less than optimal, do less, stay home from work if you can, and don’t over-commit. Make your health the highest priority.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medications. Suppressing the symptoms through medication may make you feel temporarily better, but it’s usually best to let your body heal itself. Let fevers run their course, and let the mucus drip right out. Use natural remedies whenever possible.
- Try Probiotics: Many people don’t associate cold and flu symptoms with the digestive system, but Probiotics and other detoxifying agents can be essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. When the colon is functioning optimally, the body can focus its detoxification efforts on fighting viruses like the flu or common cold.
Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season! Got a good tip that works for you? Leave a comment!
Image: lepiaf.geo at Flickr