Flu-like symptoms are no fun (as if you needed us to tell you that!). Symptoms range from sniffles and chills to a high fever that keeps you home from work all week. There are antiviral drugs that can make you feel a little better and shorten the illness’s duration. But of course your best bet is to not get the flu in the first place! Fortunately there are several simple and smart ways to defend yourself this flu season. Read on for our tips for staying fit and healthy!
1. Get a flu shot. This one seems obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t get their flu shots. There’s no guarantee that it will prevent you from getting sick; the flu shot has been 60 to 70 percent effective in recent years. But it’s definitely worth a shot! Go to your doctor or a local clinic, it takes all of five minutes, kicks in after two weeks and will keep you flu-free through Winter.
2. Wash your hands … and your keyboard. And your phone. And doorknobs, the door to the fridge-any surface you use a lot and share with others. If the people around you are carrying the virus, they can spread it easily by touching or breathing on the stuff you use every day. And they might not even realize what they’re doing: You can start spreading the flu a full day before you even get that I’m-coming-down-with-something feeling.
3. Move it! Regular exercise isn’t just great for the parts of your body you can see. It is also known to help keep your immune system in tip-top condition. There’s a clear connection between physical activity and immune function, it also helps to keep the blood flowing. Don’t let the cold weather keep you huddled on the sofa. Get your body in fighting shape-inside and out!
4. Get plenty of sleep. If you do come into contact with the dreaded flu virus, it’s important that your body is ready to fight it off. Your immune system needs all the energy it can get to successfully battle viral invaders. The hours you spend sleeping are when your body can focus on rest and replenishment. Fewer hours in bed means less energy and a weakened immune state.
5. Nourish your body. There is never enough to be said of the benefits for having a diet full of nutritious fruit and vegetables. Not only are do they make you feel and look good, they are actually helping to prevent sickness!! There are several foods you can eat or supplements you can take to give your immune system some added power. Vitamin D3 helps your immune system. It’s hard to get enough from the winter sun, so consider taking supplements. You can also try chicken soup, large doses of vitamin C (500 mg every 4 hours), zinc lozenges, or anti-viral elderberry extract, all of which have been shown in studies to shorten the duration of colds or flu’s by 50 percent.
Good luck with braving the cold this Winter and ensure you keep your health and fitness in top shape for the coming warmer months.