I have the privilege to assess many patients daily as part of my job as a Triage Nurse. We are already seeing an influx of people calling in with cold/flu symptoms. There are many ways to stay healthy during this cold and flu season. I would like to share just 8 of those ways that I feel are of the most important.
- Hand Washing:
The single most effective way to control the spread of any infection is proper hand-washing. We touch many things daily that others also touch such as door knobs, telephones, grocery carts, seats in public places, utensils at a buffet, sinks in public restrooms, the items on the coffee bar at Starbucks and the list goes on. The issue is, there is no way of knowing if the person who touched it before you washed their hands first. Hands should be washed vigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds, making sure to cover all parts of the hand including the finger tips. Hands are a great vehicle to carry the infection into our body. Wash them. Wash them often. Keep them clean.
- Keep Hands Away from Face:
I believe this is the second most important thing we can do to keep germs out of the body and remain healthy during this flu season. The hands are the vehicle as we discussed. The nose, ears, eyes, and mouth are the portals of entry. When we touch our face, the germs on our hands get into the body through these portals of entry. If you need to touch your face to clean it, apply make-up, scratch an itch or any other reason, wash your hands as directed in the hand-washing section before touching your face. An alternative would be to use hand sanitizer.
- Eat a Healthy Diet:
Eat a diet that is high in raw fruits, vegetables and low in processed meats and modified ingredients. Stay completely away from sugar. Sugar lowers our bodies ability to fight infection by decreasing the number of cells called phagocytes that actually help fight infection and keep it away. A good healthy diet gives our bodies immune system the tools it needs to do its job effectively.
- Include Bone Broth in your Diet:
I could write a book just on bone broth alone but for the sake of this article, I will keep it brief and hope you trust my knowledge. Most of our immune system lives in our gut. Bone broth helps protect the gut by coating it with collagen and nutrient rich minerals thus strengthening the immune system. It is my recommendation that you make it yourself at home. A cup a day is sure to keep the doctor away. I have attached the link to some simple recipes for your convenience. https://wellnessmama.com/5888/bone-broth/
- Get the Proper Amount of Rest:
This is absolutely essential for cell regeneration. Rest allows your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild. This regeneration process—which also requires water, food, and sometimes supplements—rebuilds your body tissues allowing them to grow back stronger. Sleep is also an important part of the process. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m fine on 4 hours a night?” “I’m ready to go.” They may feel fine but in actuality, their body is much more susceptible to colds and flu without the proper amount of rest. The adult body needs between 7 and 8 hours of rest per night.
- Keep a Humidifier in the Room Where You Sleep:
Winter weather tends to dry out your skin and nasal passages. That coupled with the fact that we turn on our heat in the winter creates a perfect breeding ground for infection. The heat in our homes during the winter also dries out our mucous membranes and leads to a much greater risk of infection with the cold and flu. If you do not already have a humidifier for your bedroom, I recommend purchasing one that is equipped with a humidistat. That will allow you to control the humidity level. The ideal level is 45%.
- Regular Exercise:
Regular exercise is a pillar of healthy living. It promotes good circulation which in turn allows cells and substances of the immune system to do their job much more efficiently. Exercise has many great benefits and protecting the immune system of one of them. Get moving and stay healthy.
- Drink Lots of Water:
Again, in an effort to keep it brief and simple, I will say this. The more you drink the more you pee. The more you pee, the more bacteria and other harmful organisms get flushed from your body. To me, that sums it up and is reason enough to drink more water. Does it have to be water? Yes. Our bodies are largely made up of water and the body cannot function properly without the right amount. The current recommendation is at least 8 glasses a day.
It is my hope that the information in this article will save you a trip to the doctor this year.
Now its time to put this all into practice for myself.
Board Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse