Washing your hands frequently and getting sufficient sleep are two ways to ward off cold and flu germs. Yet your diet can also play a star role in bolstering your immune system. Try making a fruit salad with fruits rich in vitamin C, like citrus, papaya, and kiwi. With fewer hours of sunlight in the day, it’s a good idea to get vitamin D from the foods you eat, like eggs and salmon. Zinc has also been shown to shorten a cold’s duration, so add some wheat germ to your cereal or yogurt. A cup of green tea will provide extra antioxidants while the heat and extra liquid reduces congestion.
Archive for the ‘Flu Prevention’ Category
Hand sanitizer is a common solution for stopping the spread of germs. Studies have shown that it is effective when it comes to certain strains of the flu. However, this only works when the virus is coated in lipids that the alcohol in sanitizers can rupture. Norovirus doesn’t have these lipids, so it is not affected.
To stop the spread of norovirus, use bleach to sanitize surfaces and use soap and water for hand-washing.
It may sound like a lot but washing your hands at least 10 times a day is one of the most effective strategies in flu prevention. In an updated review by the British Medical Journal, studies determined that there is no real advantage in adding antiseptics to plain soap and water. Wearing medical gloves, masks and gowns works as well, particularly when combining tactics. If you’re thinking of buying a mask, the costly and uncomfortable (N95) is no more effective than a simple surgical mask, according to this same study. They also compared other strategies including quarantine/isolation, distancing sick people from healthy ones through non-quarantine methods and better hygiene. Overall, the review found that the highest quality studies showed that the spread of disease can be lowered in households and children through good hygiene. The authors suggested instituting school programs to encourage hand washing. The update was published online Sept.22, 2009 in BMJ. (British Medical Journal)
This is a 10 step guide to help prevent you from catching the flu or swine flu this flu season. I appreciate the input from Dr Dave Woynarowski in preparing this guide.
- Wash you hands and wash them often.
- Keep your hands out of your mouth and your nose.
- Do not count on the shots to give you complete immunity; rather, be an active participant in flu prevention.
- Eat well, get plenty of rest (7-8 hours per night) in order that your immune system can be at full strength.
- The normal flu season is from October through April. Swine flu can be sporadic and hit at any time, especially if you are around someone who has been to an infected area or has recently had swine flu. The CDC now says that you may infect someone up to 18 days after all symptoms are gone away (swine flu).
- The flu virus (swine or not) mutates rapidly and changes much faster than we can ever hope to develop an effective vaccine given our present technology, thus, the hope is that the vaccine will give you “some immunity”.
- Avoid sick areas (hospitals, nursing homes, etc) as much as possible. Swine flu has not seemed to affect the elderly up to this time.
- If you are sick to begin with (diabetes, heart disease, lung disease,cancer, etc) and you thus have a compromised immune system, be especially aggressive concerning numbers 1-7 above.
- If you are over 60 years of age, you probably should get a flu shot, according to the CDC. There may be several different flu shots this season.
- Flu shots can make you sick sometimes, so check with your physician if he/she believes you should have one. Always remember, getting sick is better than dying.