Every year around this time the flu begins to spread and we all want to know the best actions we can take to prevent ourselves from getting sick this 2018-2019 flu season.
Having the flu can put you out of work for a few days, force you to clear your calendar and keep you cuddled up under a few blankets trying to fend off the chills. It is NOT FUN, but it’s also preventable if you take the right precautions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that a total of 183 pediatric deaths were reported last year during the 2017-2018 flu season and almost 30,500 hospitalizations were related to the flu. Unfortunately, last years vaccine was not as effective as it should have been.
Besides vaccines, there are many ways you can prevent the flu naturally. It all starts with your immune system. Your immune SYSTEM has many different parts that all work together and need different things to keep it working efficiently. Here’s a few ways you can stay healthy and keep the flu away!
Adopt a healthier lifestyle
By making healthier choices in every aspect of your life, you’ll begin to give your immune system the boost it needs. A few changes you can make include:
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Minimize stress
- Limit alcohol intake
Some of the things on this list may already be included in your lifestyle, if so- you’re off to a great start. Organic fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients for our immune system. We should steer clear of GMO’s and produce that was grown with pesticides, as these chemicals could actually be harmful to our immune systems and livers.
Most of us do not get all the nutrients we need from our diets alone. So many people should be taking multi-vitamins that probably are not, and when our bodies lack the nutrients we need to function properly, our systems do not perform as well as they should when it comes to fighting infections.
Some of the supplements that really help to support immune function are:
- Vitamin C – While this can be found in the fresh fruits and vegetables you’ll be eating, you can also take Vitamin C in the form of a supplement like Emergen-C. This drink is a lifesaver if you ever feel the flu coming on! It might not be the best tasting, but it’s not hard to drink!
- Zinc – Zinc is a mineral that isn’t stored in excess in our bodies, which make it important for us to include it in our daily diets. Zinc improves immune system functions and if a supplement is taken when your sick, it’s been known to shorten the length of your symptoms or prevent you from getting sick all together! (I always take Zinc whenever I get that scratchy sore throat feeling, like you feel like you’re about to get sick and it works!)
- Probiotics – These are live bacteria that keep our gut healthy! Probiotics are typically found in yogurt or other fermented foods and are helpful to keep our digestive system functioning. They also provide support to our immune systems, helping to fight infections.
Always remember that when taking supplements that are designed to boost your immune system that these products are typically PACKED full of vitamins, which is good in the short term to help you get over the flu, but can be harmful if you continue to pump your body full of vitamins.
Our bodies can only absorb a certain amount of Zinc and Vitamin C, which means any excess of these in your body will just come out in the form of waste. Some vitamins on the other hand are stored in the fat of our bodies and will continue to build up if you take too much.
Diffuse oils into your home
Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil are both known to prevent airborne infections. You can use a diffuser like this one in whatever room you spend the most time in (or if you’re like me, just put one in every room) and with a little water, this puppy will release the aroma of the oils into your air.
A few other oils that are beneficial when it comes to the flu or preventing infection are:
- Lemon and Tea Tree – four drops of each into your diffuser will help fight the flu.
- Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood – 4 drops of each will help as a sleep aid & decongestant.
- Clove Bud, Cardamom, Bergamot – three drops of each to assist immune functions.
- Peppermint, Spearmint, Eucalyptus – 4 drops of each in your diffuser to help clear your nasal passages.
If you love lighting candles, a diffuser could be a great substitute to help purifiy your air. It’s also great to have in the winter months when the air in our homes is especially dry because it can also act as a humidifier.
Take steps to avoid infection
This may seem like the most obvious, but anytime you touch anything in a public place you’re putting yourself at risk of getting the flu. To avoid getting sick, you can do a few different things:
- Keep your hands away from your face, unless they’re clean
- Avoid touching too many public surfaces
- Disinfect routinely
- Wash your hands!
With a combination of a healthy lifestyle, supplements, and really trying to avoid getting sick you’ll be likely to dodge the flu this year. Remember to stay away from anyone who seems or sounds sick, and if you do get sick, try to prevent spreading the flu by staying home and resting up!
Do you have any tricks you swear by that prevents you from getting sick? What are they? Leave us a comment!