Have you or any of your family been hit by the flu yet? According to the CDC, flu season starts in October or November and can last until May. Here are six things you can do now to help protect you and your family during the cold and flu season.
1. Wash your hands frequently (keep your hands off your face and parents keep your hands off your child’s face).
To get the flu or a cold, the virus needs an entryway, like through your eyes, nose or mouth. You need to wash your hand more often and encourage your kids to do the same. Try counting to 20 while washing your hands (between your fingers and beneath your nails) with soap.
2. Cover your cough and sneezes.
Flu germs can spread up to 6 feet through coughs and sneezes, so make sure you and your children cover your mouth and nose. If your child uses a tissue make sure they throw it away right after they use it and that they clean their hands afterward!
3. Get plenty of rest.
I know that you are busy with kids, work, this project and that project, but lack of sleep lessens your immune system function making you more susceptible to the virus.
4. Get regular exercise.
Exercise helps improve your immune system by promoting better circulation that allows your cells and other protective agents to work more effectively.
5. Stay hydrated.
Fluid of choice, water! Our bodies are 60% water. Every living cell in your body is made of water so in order for them to function at their best, they need plenty of water.
6. Eat well.
Make sure you are getting enough protein. Protein rebuilds cells in your body it is your defense and repair mechanism against infection. Good sources of lean protein include: seafood, lean meat, skinless poultry, beans and peas and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help ward off illness and keep cells healthy.
Include foods that are rich in Vitamin A, C and Zinc
Vitamin A because it helps keeps your immune system strong by keeping skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach intestines and respiratory system healthy. Good sources, include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, green leafy vegetables, squash, herbs, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs and cantaloupe.
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and is important for wounds to heal. Zinc is found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, mushrooms, spinach, whole grains, beans and nuts.
Vitamin C protects your body from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and tangerines. In addition, red and green bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and potatoes good choices for Vitamin C.
Did you get the flu shot yet? Read more about Seasonal Influenza (Flu)
More info: CDC: Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work & School