It’s almost that time of year again – crisp air, warm sweaters, falling leaves. They’re all right around the corner. But so is the coughing, sniffling and sneezing that comes with the change of season.
But you can make this the year you ban colds from crossing your doorstep and you tell the flu to take a flying leap. Because there are some simple tricks you can start using today that can help keep you healthy all fall and winter long.
Turn your body into a fortress against cold and flu
1.Wash your hands.
It sounds too simple to be effective, but the truth is the number one way you can ward off a cold or the flu is to wash your hands often. You come into contact with bugs constantly throughout the day, but lathering up with warm water and regular old soap will send them packing. But skip the disinfecting wipes for normal everyday cleaning they contain disinfectants that can trigger allergies, asthma and other health issues.
2. Keep your hands away from your face.
On average we touch our faces 3 to 4 times a day. And every time you do you risk transferring bugs you picked up to your mouth or nose where they can make you sick. So do your best to avoid touching your face during cold and flu season, enlist the help of family and friends to remind you when you slip.
3. Drink hot tea with honey and lemon.
Turns out grandma was right all along, a warm soothing cup of tea with honey and lemon is the perfect prescription for raising a barrier against cool weather ailments. That one delicious cup can help prevent cold and flu on several different levels. The steam from the tea helps clean out your sinuses, keeping them clear of the germs that can make you sick. Honey is a natural antibacterial and lemon helps thin mucus.
4. Get plenty of protein.
Most of us tend to turn to carbohydrates when the temperature drops, but it’s actually protein that will help your body ward off a cold or flu bug. The antibodies that help fight disease are actually made of protein. Support your immune system all fall and winter long by making sure you’re getting enough including organic eggs, yogurt, nuts and lean grass-fed meats.
5. Always keep a pen in your pocket.
You end up using a pen several times throughout your day such as at the grocery store, the bank or at a restaurant. But everyone else who’s been to those places has needed a pen too, which means countless germy hands have been touching the pens that are made available. By simply bringing your own along you can avoid picking up any of the germs those folks have left behind. Plus, you can use that same pen to punch the keys at the ATM or on credit card machines to avoid even more of those ugly bugs.
6. Get more sleep.
While you’re asleep your immune system is wide awake and working hard to prevent cold and flu. Experts say you should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep to allow your body to mount a defense against viruses using your natural killer cells. And if a bug still manages to make it through your defenses sleep supports your immune system giving it the boost it needs so you get better, faster.
7. Take a probiotic.
Most people don’t think about their belly when their trying to keep from catching a cold or the flu. But it turns out they should because a healthy gut is one of your best lines of defense against invading viruses. The fine balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive system has a huge impact on your immune system and its ability to fight off the bugs that makes you sick. The best way to keep that balance in line is to take the probiotics that replenish and support a healthy bacteria balance. Look to probiotic supplements or foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, with live, active cultures.
8. Enjoy the sun.
Summer’s ending, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still get outside every day. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is linked to a stronger immune system, so you can fight off cold and flu through the darkest winter. So don’t spend all day hiding inside. Get 15 minutes of mid-day sun every day to keep your immune system strong.
Don’t dread the end of summer because it means sniffles, sneezes and fevers are right around the bend. Prevent those colds and flu from ever taking hold in the first place and enjoy the change of season!