This year, we are facing a double challenge: the still-rampant COVID-19 coupled with the flu season. It appears that staying healthy through the fall and winter will be trickier than ever. Even if you opt to have the influenza vaccine, it is no guarantee against the flu – and doesn’t protect from the common cold at all.
Never fear, though: learn how to stay healthy during flu season (or at least increase your chances of doing so!) by following these five simple practices.
Most commonly, viruses enter our bodies through the mouth or nose. Some basic hygiene practices are highly effective in thwarting this pathway.
Cover your nose and mouth
When you have to go into a building full of people, wear a mask. Many people now associate masks with COVID-19, but a mask will protect you from any virus. It can be a disposable surgical mask or a reusable cloth mask, but you must wash it frequently if you opt for the latter.
When you sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue. This step will reduce the chances of someone around you catching the virus through inhaled droplets.
Wash or sanitize your hands
Wash your hands frequently, especially after you come home, before you take off your mask, and before you eat. Washing with soap and water is the most simple and effective practice, but if it’s not possible, use an alcohol-based disinfectant.
Avoid touching your face
Many people spread germs by touching a contaminated object and then touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. So keep your hands away from your face as much as you can.
Clean and disinfect (must do things in flu season)
If you must touch an object many people use, such as a doorknob in a public building or the handle of a cart, disinfect it with an alcohol wipe. At home, make sure all family members have their own hand towels and wash them frequently.
2. Physical Distance (best practice to COVID in Flu Season)
By now, we have all heard “stay 6 feet apart” – usually in connection with COVID-19. What is true for COVID also works for the influenza virus and the rhinoviruses associated with the common cold.
Stay away from sick people, distance from other people when you are sick yourself, and avoid unnecessary crowds. For example, choose to do your shopping when you know the grocery store isn’t likely to be busy.
A healthy, balanced diet is an effective way to boost your immune system and reduce susceptibility to colds and the flu. While there are no magic foods, the following practices will help you bolster immunity:
- Avoid diets that are very low in calories or protein
- Avoid consuming large amounts of over-processed junk food
- Choose a wide range of healthy foods from different food groups
- Eat plenty of vegetables and, to a lesser extent, fruit (fruit contains a lot of sugar)
- Stay hydrated by drinking healthy beverages such as water and unsweetened tea
- Consider a vitamin D supplement and enhance its absorbance by consuming healthy fats from deep-sea fish like salmon.
4. Physical Activity
Like a healthy diet, regular exercise is an immune system booster. Exercise makes your blood flow faster – this includes white blood cells and antibodies responsible for resisting infection.
Set aside time for exercise at least three times a week and incorporate movement into your daily routine. This point is especially crucial if you have a sedentary job. Here are some practical suggestions:
- Stretch at your desk
- Take frequent breaks and change positions: this is easier to do if you have an adjustable desk
- Whenever possible, walk, run, or bike instead of driving
- Take the stairs rather than using the elevator
5. Relaxation and Sleep
Stress and lack of sleep can tamper with your immune system and increase your vulnerability to viruses. Ideally, you should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. To ease yourself into a healthy sleep routine, try to:
- Set a consistent sleep and waking time
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark
- Avoid screen use right before bedtime
- Take a warm, relaxing bath in the evening
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon
- Meditate and do breathing exercise
Despite your best efforts, you may still get a cold or the flu. However, the good news is that the same methods that keep us healthy – effective hygiene, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep – will also help us recover more quickly if we do get sick.
Nordik Chiropractic: A Holistic Wellness Chiropractor in Jupiter, FL
At Nordik Chiropractic, we do more than relieve pain – we are committed to promoting our patients’ overall health and wellness. We use the Gonstead chiropractic method for pain management and to help you achieve optimum health. Call us at 561-658-1180, or fill out our website form to book an appointment.