Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu
Since there are no known cures for colds and flu, prevention must be your goal. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu is apt to make your whole life healthier. The most effective way to prevent flu according to doctors is to get the flu shot. But there are other strategies you can employ as well.
Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. Someone who has the flu sneezes onto their hand, and then touches the telephone, the keyboard, a kitchen glass. The germs can live for hours — in some cases weeks — only to be picked up by the next person who touches the same object. So wash your hands often. If no sink is available, rub your hands together very hard for a minute or so. That also helps break up most of the cold germs. Or get a small bottle of hand sanitizer that you can carry with you.
Because germs and viruses cling to your bare hands, muffling coughs and sneezes with your hands results in passing along your germs to others. When you feel a sneeze or cough coming, use a tissue, then throw it away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, turn your head away from people near you and cough into the air. Or cough into your elbow.
Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching their faces is the major way children catch colds, and a key way they pass colds on to their parents.
Water flushes your system as it rehydrates you. A typical, healthy adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day. How can you tell if you’re getting enough liquid? If the color of your urine runs close to clear, you’re getting enough. If it’s deep yellow, you need more fluids.
Researchers aren’t clear about the exact role saunas play in prevention, but one 1989 German study found that people who took saunas twice a week got half as many colds as those who didn’t. One theory: When you take a sauna you inhale air hotter than 80 degrees, a temperature too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.
A regular dose of fresh air is important, especially in cold weather when central heating dries you out and makes your body more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. Also, during cold weather more people stay indoors, which means more germs are circulating in crowded, dry rooms.
“Phyto” means plants, and the natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. Eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
The practice of tai chi boosts the immune system by increasing your vital energy or qi and its circulation. And if you do get sick, don’t stop doing tai chi. It will help you heal.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!