5 Ways To Ward Off The Flu


by Brandi Savitt – updated January 10th, 2014

Boost Your Immune System This Winter

It’s the new year and you know what that means – the height of flu season is upon us!  The flu not only takes a toll on your physical health – but also can impact your financial well being.  Whether it’s time off work, unexpected medical bills, or the cost of extra child care, illness related bills can add up fast. So it’s the perfect time to revisit this great flu fighting advice from Prevention Magazine…

Take a Probiotic

Probiotics are live, “good bacteria” that naturally live in your gut.  These microorganisms not only help with digestion, they provide nutrients and help build our immune systems.  According to Dr. Oz,  ”When probiotics are abundant in your body, it’s harder for bacteria that cause illness to get a foothold.  Some also keep you healthy by making bacteriocins, which suppress the growth of harmful bacteria.”

Help reduce your risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections by taking a quality probiotic.  A 2011 meta-analysis of 10 studies conducted at Loughborough University in England, showed that people taking probiotics were 42% less likely to get a cold than those taking a placebo.  Check out this article for help on picking the best probiotic for you!

Exercise!

Ok all of you Resolutionaries out there, if  shedding some pounds isn’t enough incentive for you to stick to your New Year’s plan to go to the gym, how about warding off the flu?  According to Prevention and an Appalachian State University study, people who exercise five days a week or more spend 43% fewer days with upper respiratory infections.  And besides making you strong, exercise boosts your blood flow so your immune cells can circulate throughout your body!

Wash & Dry Your Hands

How many times do you go into the bathroom, wash your hands and barely dry them because you’re in a hurry or there’s only that useless hand dryer on the wall.  Well… washing your hands after being in a potential germy place is key to warding off viruses and germs, but so is drying your hands thoroughly.  Germs cling to your skin more easily when it’s wet, so make sure you have a dry, clean towel to do the job!

Cut Out The Sweets

We all know that sugar helps to pack on the pounds, but it also weakens our white blood cells ability to fight off viruses and bacteria.  Prevention explains that “your immune system stays depressed for several hours after you eat or drink something with a significant amount of sugar.”  So, if you have a sweet snack and then a few hours later have a soda, your resistance will be lowered much of the day!

Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

You don’t need buy an alcohol filled hand sanitizer to clean surfaces and kill germs on your hands.  Go green and mix 8 oz of purified water and 30 drops of your favorite essential oil (like lavender, tea tree or rosemary) in a spray bottle.  Spray your hands, the phone, door knobs and wherever germs may be hanging out…

Worth A Shot

And yes, of course, you can also get a flu shot – it’s certainly a good investment.  It usually works against the more common strains, but don’t think you won’t get sick just because you got your shot this year.  That’s why whether you got the shot – or not – we suggest following the above advice – here’s to a healthy and flu-free 2014!

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