Does the sound of a cough or sneeze make you cringe this time of year? You’re not alone. Warding off the flu and colds requires strategy and careful attention to detail in the winter months. Everyone seems to have their own tips and tricks for staving off illness (and avoiding that sick coworker one desk away). When it comes to your health however, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Check out some of Dr. Sears’ cold and flu prevention tips to keep your family happy and healthy this winter.
1. Avoid person-to-person contact when possible: Most flu germs travel through physical touch or through droplet spread (when germs enter miniscule water drops that are sneezed or coughed into the air). While contact is not always avoidable, there are a few small changes you can make during cold and flu season to minimize your germ contact:
a. Try giving a bow or head nod in place of hand shaking.
b. Make sure your family is practicing good hygiene. Avoid nose-picking, use disposable handkerchiefs and sneeze inside your elbow to cover your mouth and nose.
c. Avoid crowed rooms, coughers and sneezers when possible.
d. Be sure to get fresh air frequently.
2. Eat immune boosting foods: Phytonutrients, or “phytos” as Dr. Sears calls them, are natural chemicals commonly found in fruits and vegetables. These chemicals have germ-fighting powers that support healthy immune system functions, making them an essential component to a healthy diet this season. As a general rule, fruits and vegetables with deep colors or rich flavors tend to have the greatest concentration of “phytos.” Try incorporating tomatoes, red grapes, blueberries, Brussels sprouts, or chili peppers into your diet this season for a “phyto” boost!
Another great way to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients for boosting your immune system this flu season is to take supplements. Dr. Sears recommends two supplements in particular: 1) Omega-3 fish oil and 2) A fruit and vegetable supplement like Juice Plus+. Taking these supplements, in conjunction with eating healthy, will help to ensure that your immune system is getting the nutrients needed to perform its best. Check out our line of Juice Plus+ products here.
3. Keep your hands clean: One of the simplest tips for cold and flu prevention is also one of the most important—keep your hands clean. Many flu germs are transmitted through physical contact, which most commonly takes form through your hands. Wash and wipe your hands frequently, especially if you are beginning to experience signs of a cold, are using the restroom or are handling food. When possible, try to avoid touching others or your face as well. Maintaining clean hands will not only decrease the chances of you getting sick, but it will also cut down on the spreading of sickness-causing germs.
If you believe you are beginning to experience cold or flu-like symptoms, be sure to treat them immediately. If you have the flu, you will experience three or more of the following symptoms: High fever, chills, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body and muscle aches, stuffy nose, clear or green runny nose, cough – dry or productive, irritated or red eyes.
What kind of practices do you and your family use to ensure that you stay healthy during flu and cold season?