Top 5 tips to survive flu season
(NC) With winter right around the corner, many of us are already anticipating the dreaded cold and flu season. But this time of year doesn’t have to mean a household full of runny noses, sore throats, achy muscles and fevers. Abbey Sharp, a registered dietician, shares her top tips to combat and survive this year’s flu season.
Find ways to minimize stress: Chronic stress wears you down, both emotionally and physically, leaving your body more susceptible to infection and disease. Make an effort to find some activities that help you unwind. Listening to a meditation app, doing yoga, laughing with friends or even just taking a bath may help clear your mind and lower those harmful stress hormone levels.
Exercise daily: You don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of daily exercise. Exercise may help slow down the release of stress hormones, which in turn helps boost immune function over time. In fact, research has found that moderate exercise even helps to prevent the onset of the common cold. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes each day doing something active.
Increase zinc levels: Zinc is a mineral that helps your body stay healthy, not only strengthening your immune system but also promoting normal growth and development at all ages. For a delicious way to get your zinc, try Tetley Super Herbal Tea-Immune, which has lemon, echinacea and zinc. This tasty tea is high in zinc, containing 20 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of zinc per cup. Get enough sleep: When deprived of quality shut-eye, your body experiences an increase in stress hormones, which starts to wear down your ability to fight off disease and infection. Skip the caffeine after noon, shut off all electronics before bed, keep your room as dark as possible and create a relaxing pre-bed routine to help you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Keep good hygiene habits: Unless you plan to barricade indoors yourself this winter, it’s impossible to steer completely clear of germs. Your best defence is to wash your hands thoroughly and often using soap and hot water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. And don’t forget to be courteous — practice the “sleeve sneeze” to avoid transferring pathogenic germs onto your hands.
FLU RECOVERY TIPS
Flu season is upon us, and if you’re one of the one billion influenza cases that happen each year, you’re looking at a rough road to recovery. While most cases last seven to 10 days, the flu can last up to two full weeks for some.
Cindy Beckedam, a registered dietician at Loblaws, and Hans Epp, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart, share their tips for recovering from the flu.
Drink plenty of fluids: Fluids fuel your immune system by helping move important proteins around your body. We’re also losing a lot of them in the form of mucous or sweat when we have the flu. “While there are no hard and fast rules, do your best to get plenty of fluids whether they come in the form of tea, soup or plain old water,” says Beckedam.
Cancel your caffeine and alcohol consumption: Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics that may work against your efforts to stay hydrated. “Skipping a glass of beer or wine with dinner may make the job of staying hydrated a bit easier,” advises Epp.
Consume foods with the right vitamins and minerals: It takes a lot of work for our bodies to fight the flu, so getting the vitamins and minerals we need is a big part of recovery. Vitamin C, zinc and vitamin A help contribute to a good immune system and overall health, so foods that contain them are a good place to start.
Stay well rested: The flu takes a lot out of us, so getting plenty of rest will help with recovery. “Tired and sore muscles are your body’s way of telling you it’s a good idea to stay at home,” explains Epp. “Staying home and resting have the added benefit of curbing the spread of illness.”
Avoid the flu altogether: The flu shot is still your best way to help avoid the illness, so stop in at your closest Shoppers Drug Mart and get vaccinated today.