Cold & flu season is one that everyone dreads. But since making a few changes, it isn't such a menacing figure for us anymore. These few things aren't hard to do, but they will require a bit of a change for many people. Believe me, it's worth it when everyone around you is starting to get sick!
*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Health Canada. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.
Why Cold & Flu Season?
The cold & flu season occurs during the fall and winter months, usually reaching its peak in January and February (depending on where you live). There are a few things that cause more people to become ill during that time:
- People are indoors - making the spread of illness much more likely.
- Decreased sunlight - lack of vitamin D lowers immune response and lack of ultraviolet rays to kill germs.
- Cold temperatures - lowers immunity and increases the life of viruses.
- Dry air - dehydrates mucous membranes which lowers immune response.
It seems like it will an inevitable fact that you and your family will get sick, but there are some simple preventative measures you can take. And even if you do get sick it will most likely be a mild case with these few precautions.
Reduce sugar intake
It really shouldn't surprise us that most people come down with a serious cold or the flu after Christmas. Between Halloween and the holiday festivities, people are generally eating more sugar than they normally do. It's a proven fact that sugar works against your body's natural defense mechanisms, making it easier for viruses to invade your system.
Try to limit your sugar and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to give your immune system the boost it needs. Add lots of garlic to your menu, too. It's known to provide support for your immune system. And don't forget the chicken soup - even if you don't have a cold!
Get adequate rest & exercise
Staying up late to enjoy a summer evening is perfectly naturally, but in the winter try to get to bed earlier. Getting more rest in the winter months will help your body fight infections naturally. It also reduces inflammation and stress (stress also suppresses your immune response). And pairing rest with exercise is a natural defense mechanism. Besides creating a healthy body, exercise helps you sleep better.
Take a few supplements
Adding a few supplements to your daily routine can be beneficial in the winter months. While you may catch a cold or flu, these supplements may help reduce the length or severity of the illness. Here's what I like to include:
- Garlic capsules - garlic gives your immune system a boost
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to absorb viruses
- Vitamin D - since we have less exposure to sunlight in the winter, supplementing is important for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape
Diffuse essential oils
An ultrasonic diffuser also acts as a humidifier (learn about different types of diffusers) so it serves a dual purpose in the winter months. It releases a fine mist of essential oils and water vapor into the air, reducing airborne viruses. It also adds a bit of additional moisture to the air, which can support sinus health.
A few of my favorite winter (that's an affiliate link -->) essential oils:
- Immune Strength - Rocky Mountain's blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and other oils works very well at combating airborne bacteria and viruses.
- Eucalyptus - is the oil for stuffy noses and sinuses. Add a drop to a bowl full of hot water, cover your head, and breath deeply.
- Oregano oil - a small drop of heavily diluted oregano oil applied to the feet can also help your immune system.
Wash your hands
One last tip for keeping those colds at bay...
It may seem like a very simple thing to do, but washing your hands lowers your risk of catching an infection.
Cold & flu viruses are mainly spread by touch. When a sick person coughs or sneezes the resulting droplets spread to various surfaces around them - doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, table surfaces, etc. When a healthy person touches one of those surfaces and then touches their nose or mouth the virus begins its dirty work.
The best way to stop that virus in its track is to wash your hands (especially when you are out-and-about around lots of people). One of our daily habits is to head to the bathroom sink to wash our hands every time we get home.
It's a simple habit that can keep you healthy.
How do you stay healthy during cold & flu season?
The 5 changes listed above will help your body's natural defenses work their best and keep you healthy during the winter. And, if you do catch a cold, your body is ready to fight it off quickly and easily. Let me know how you stay healthy in the winter - leave me a comment!