We’ve all been there. You have a big event coming up ... perhaps a concert with friends or dinner with family. Then all of the sudden, your throat is sore, you have a cough and feel like you’ve been hit by a truck! UGH!
Without fail, flu season strikes every year as the temperatures turn cool.
However, there are several ways you can get out ahead of flu season and attempt to stay healthy in natural ways! Read on for a few tips on staying healthy during the flu season peak.
What is the flu?
With so much misinformation out there, we wanted to first set the record straight on what the flu even IS and why flu season months always seem to be winter.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and the most widely acknowledged way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Winter is the most common season for contagious illnesses like the cold and flu to hit, and this is because the flu virus thrives in cold and dry air. In those colder winter temps, we're way more likely to settle indoors with our friends and family. Those nasty germs LOVE it when people are all together like this because it’s just a short journey for them to travel from person to person, resulting in the spread of illness. Such a bummer!
Wash Your Hands
The most important thing that you (and your family!) can do during flu season is wash your hands. According to the CDC, washing your hands often will help protect you from germs that can cause the flu and other serious respiratory illnesses.
Here are a few simple instructions to get the most out of hand washing time:
- Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don’t forget to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails, too!
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you’re not sure how long that is, try humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. ;)
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
But what if you’re in a pinch and don’t have access to water and soap to wash your hands? Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a great solution because it eliminates most germs!
Eat nutrient-rich meals
Yes, eating healthy, nutritious meals is a great solution to many things ... including prevention of the flu! Foods that are rich in Vitamin C are especially effective in prevention of illness.
Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that keeps the body strong AND healthy. It is often found in citrus-y foods–yum! And in fact, people who eat foods rich in vitamin C every day can cut their risk of catching the flu in half.
But what if you know someone who is already ill? Perhaps you don’t want to visit them and risk getting sick yourself but want to help. Sending an ill loved one a healthy meal could be a thoughtful option! Proper Good Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth is tasty enough to be sipped on all by itself OR as a base in other recipes! Sure to bring a little more pep in a sick one’s step, our bone broth is a protein, collagen, and nutrient rich beverage superfood perfectly suited to be served piping hot!
Get a solid night’s sleep
While a good night's sleep doesn't guarantee you won't catch the flu, it can drastically reduce the risk. Consistently getting a deep night’s sleep enables the flu vaccine to be as effective as it can be.
So what allows you to get an effective night’s sleep? A few things!
First, if possible, it’s helpful to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Also aim to establish a consistent bedtime routine that works for you, and take time away from screens by reading a book or taking a bath. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, as these drastically affect the quality of sleep.
We know it’s tough to remind yourself to drink water when going about the hustle and bustle of your daily life! We’ve been there. ;) But it’s super important to drink enough water, especially when trying to prevent illness.
A great rule of thumb is that you should aim to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that equals 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. Easy peasy!
One recent study also found that staying hydrated may boost an immune response to enable your body to better fight the viruses.
As if we needed another reason to get a heart pumping workout in! Turns out, exercising frequently can also be key in preventing the flu.
Physical activity helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, which may reduce your chance of getting the flu or other illnesses. Exercise also results in a positive change in antibodies and white blood cells, and white blood cells are the body's immune system cells that fight disease.
We understand that when wintertime rolls around, there’s a lot of anxiety around getting the flu and feeling less than your best. Hopefully the tips in this blog post are a helpful checklist as you look to be your healthiest and best during the cold season!
And just in case you need a little cheat sheet … here are the tips we shared all in one spot!
- Get the flu vaccine
- Wash your hands regularly
- Eat nutritious foods
- Prioritize sleep
- Don’t forget to stay hydrated
- Get heart-pumping movement in every day
Stay healthy out there :-)