It’s flu season in Minnesota and you may have already gotten a bug or two since the weather got chilly and you’re spending more time indoors. Getting the seasonal flu is not an inevitability. Here are some tips for fighting those ferocious flu season germs.
What Is the Flu?
The flu is a virus spread by droplets we expel when we sneeze, cough, and talk. These droplets can be passed to others when you shake hands or share equipment such as keyboards, kitchen utensils, pens, and even door knobs.
The flu virus causes symptoms such as fever, a cough and sore throat, headaches and body aches, chills, fatigue, a stuffy nose, and even nausea. These symptoms are similar to the common cold, but are more severe. People with the flu are contagious from one day before they experience symptoms to five to seven days after they start feeling sick.
Fighting the Flu: Wash Your Hands!
The first line of defense against the flu is washing your hands. Hands are essentially little germ carriers. They pick up germs with every touch. Take a cue from your doctor and wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Dr. Christopher Tolcher from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine says he likely washes his hands “40 to 50 times per day.”
Soap and warm water are all you need to wash germs down the drain. Don’t skimp on the time you wash your hands. Take 20 seconds to wash your hands, which you can count by singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice.
After you’re done washing your hands, keep your hands away from your mouth and nose. Mealtime often involves touching your mouth. To reduce the number of times this happens, choose foods that require utensils to eat rather than your hands.
Fighting the Flu: Keep Surfaces Clean
Clean hands are wonderful but largely ineffective at avoiding flu if the surfaces they touch are riddled with germs. Give surfaces at home and at work a once-over with a germ-busting cleaner. Cleaning countertops and desk surfaces is great, but don’t overlook keyboards, computer mice, door knobs, telephones, and pens.
Before you break out the bleach, though, consider the health effects of toxic cleaning chemicals. The last thing you want to do is make yourself sick in the process of fighting the flu. Instead, choose products that disinfect and clean naturally. Look for products that have citrus oil or citric acid for a natural, green clean.
Fighting the Flu: Exercise and Supplementation
Now that you’ve taken steps to prevent flu on the outside, consider how you’ll fight flu from the inside. Exercise strengthens your heart and your immune system. Take a walk or a jog around the block, do some yoga, or lift weights. Doctors say it is okay to exercise if you have mild cold symptoms, such as a stuffy nose. However, avoid exercise if you have a fever, a cough, or the chills.
Some folks also choose to take supplements to help fight off the flu. Herbs can be helpful in pill form or as a tea. Before you visit a place that may be germy, such as a school, plane, or hospital, consider taking some echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C.
Don’t let the flu get you this season. Take steps to avoid germs and keep yourself healthy. Contact me to find green cleaning products and supplements to help you fight the flu.
Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!
Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance