- Get plenty of shut-eye. Sleeping about 8 hours each night will help your body recharge and function at its best. The body needs to rest in order to heal itself and produce the germ fighting antibodies. If you are feeling rundown, then you are putting your immune system in jeopardy. Slow down, rest up, and get your shut-eye.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will help flush out toxins in your body. Also, water is important to keep your throat moist. Cold and Flu viruses thrive to dry environments.
- Fuel your body with nutrients. Load up on foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. Both will help protect your body’s tissues against inflammation, stress, and boost your immune system. Increase your vitamins, especially Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Vitamin D, if you are in contact with others who may be sick, or you are feeling a little rundown yourself.
- Frequently scrub your hands clean. Washing your hands often is one of the best ways to get rid of germs. Scrub your hands with soap and water for a good 20 seconds. Make sure to rub rigorously to get rid of the germs. Every time you sneeze, cough, blow your nose, come in contact with others, with money, or share common objects and surfaces, it is a good idea to wash your hands as soon as you can. (Keep hand sanitizer on your for when you can’t get to a sink.)
- Disinfect and clean often. Disinfecting surfaces, phones, computers and keyboards, and door knobs and light switches, will help kill any germs that may be lurking. Don’t allow germs to grow and spread to you or others. Cleaning regularly will help reduce your chances of getting the cold or flu.
- Move your body. Daily exercise is great for boosting your immune system. If you feel run down or the beginning signs of potentially getting sick, keep it simple. Going for daily walks, doing yoga, or light weight lifting is a good and healthy way to give your body the positive boost it needs. Avoid going heavy, hard, or for a long duration, as this will put more stress on your body, weakening your defense mechanisms.
- Humidity is your friend. Investing in a humidifier is a great idea, especially if you are prone to getting colds or the flu every year. This goes with the staying hydrated philosophy. A humidifier will help keep your throat and nose moist and keeping things moist will help prevent the growth and spread of Cold and Flu viruses in your home. Take steamy showers, hover over your hot soups and teas, and humidify your home.
- Reduce your stress and relax. This is usually easier said than done, especially as the busy holiday seasons are upon us, but it is essential. When you are stressed, you compromise your immune system, and thus become more susceptible to getting sick. Take time out of your day to relax. Enjoy a nice walk outside, read a (fun, not work related) book, meditate, or better yet, get a massage! Massages have been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, increase blood circulation, and even boost your immune system. The down time allows your mind and body to unwind, recharge, and reduces your stress levels, allowing your body to heal and protect itself from Colds and the Flu.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Everywhere you go you hear sniffles, sneezes, nose blowing, and coughing. Colds and Flus usually start showing up as Fall sets in, and progresses throughout the Winter months. It can be hard to avoid, especially if you are around small children, lots of people, or handle money on a daily basis. So how do you reduce your risk of getting the cold or flu this season? Here are 8 tips that can help guard yourself against getting colds and the flu this year.
Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland,
Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and
a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.