Immunity is the season's magic word. It is what will see you through. We are talking about warding off the threat of colds, flu, and other scary winter germs lurking on every doorknob, in every public bathroom, and on every handle of your morning bus/train/metro to work. When temperatures drop and windows and doors stay shut, viruses can thrive indoors; if your immune system is not up to the task, you are likely to catch the latest buy to hit town. This means less energy, the possibility of health complications and feeling awful. Each winter, these infections put millions of people out of commission, cost employers billions of dollars in paid sick days, and send millions of sick people to the hospital. Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is a viral infection which strikes the whole body with a vengeance. Over the course of a normal flu season, one in ten adults and one in three children will catch influenza - the flu. You will feel unpleasant symptoms like a sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, dry cough, headache, severe muscle aches and pains, backache, weakness and loss of appetite. The worst of your symptoms will last till 3 to 5 days, but a cough and fatigue may linger on for weeks. There are ways how you could protect yourself from getting the flu and stay healthy during the cold and flu season.
What To Do On A Day-To-Day Basis To Prevent Flu:
1. Start With A Multi Vitamin: Do not go by hearsay, you don't need to take vast amounts of vitamins and herbs to keep you healthy. In fact, if you take too high a dose, especially of Vitamin C you can irritate your stomach. A better option is a multi-vitamin, once a day. Look for one with 100% of the recommended daily values of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, and the minerals chromium, copper, folic acid, selenium, calcium, and zinc. Take your multi during a meal that contains a bit fat so you can absorb the nutrients better.
2. Move More: Men who got 3 hours a day of moderate activity (the equivalent of walking briskly, climbing stairs, or playing tennis) were 35% less likely to catch a cold compared with those who did only 1 hour. The good news is that you may not have to breathe hard everyday. The Chinese art of slow movements, meditation, and breathing, decreases the release of catecholamine, a neuro-transmitter that dampens the immune system. If three sessions of these are done for 4 months, it enhances the immune cell function 45%.
3. Wash Your Hands As Many Times As You Can: There is a rapid decrease in respiratory illness in people who wash their hands at least five times a day. Similar results would be in schools, homes and work places where regular hand washing is adopted. It is not enough to wash your hands just before dinner. Wash as much as you think you require to or find them dirty. Simple soap and water hand washing is easy and effective way to stay healthy year-round.
4. Get Into Bed Early: Getting enough sleep is the most important thing to do this season because any other precautions you take against cold or flu - the right food, supplements, even vaccinations, wont offer the same protection if your body is too tired to use them properly. Men who sleep only 4 hours a night for 1 week produced only half the amount of flu-fighting antibodies in their blood compared with those who slept 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours.
5. Stay Alert: If a viral outbreak hits your city, the best thing you can do is avoid crowds. When you read about it in the paper or watch it on the news, that is the time to rent a movie and be at home, instead of going out to the theatre.
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