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Cold and Flu Prevention
writes, "As the holidays are over and we are finally getting some snow, it is important to remember that we are still in the midst of cold and flu season! To prevent getting sick, always remember to follow some simple suggestions:"
1) Wash your hands often. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact and germs can live for hours to a week at a time.

2) Cover your coughs with a tissue or your elbow. Coughing into your hands is an easy way to pass germs on to others (through hand shakes, transfer of money, etc.)

3) Avoid touching your face. The eyes, nose, and mouth are major points of entry for cold and flu germs.

4) Stay well hydrated. Your immune system (and body in general!) functions best when you are drinking enough water. As long as you have no kidney problems, you can aim to drink half your body weight, in ounces per day. (Ex: a child weighing 100 lbs should aim for 50oz.)

5) Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise pumps your blood throughout your body and increases the activity of your cells that protect you from viruses.

6) Eat healthful foods, and cut sugar and alcohol intake. Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help your body function more optimally. Watch your sugar intake, as well as alcohol - both suppress your immune functioning for several hours after consumption.

7) Try home hydrotherapy. Most people take a nice hot shower before heading to the office. Warm water increases blood flow to the skin, and by simply ending your shower with cool or cold water for 30 seconds, you move the blood from your skin to your organs. This moves nutrients in and waste out in a more efficient manner, giving your body a little jolt of increased detoxifying ability before you head to work. Studies have also found an increase in white blood cell activity after hydrotherapy, with healthy white blood cells necessary for proper immune function.

8) Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement. Did you know that a large portion of your immune system lives in your gastrointestinal tract? Traditional peoples ate fermented foods year round, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha which helped continually colonize the gut with good bacteria, which enhances immune functioning. We can eat those same foods today, or take our probiotics in a pill. Either way, they are helping to maintain healthy gut flora and immunity.

You may also want to ask your doctor about Vitamin D testing (deficiency is associated with increased risk of illness). If you aren't planning on getting a flu vaccine this year, consider an alternative such as a homeopathic flu prevention preparation with the remedy Influenzinum. Hopefully with these measures, you can boost your body's natural ability to fight off infections and make it through the winter healthy and happy.

Laura Glenn, ND
Owner of Treasure Valley Natural Medicine, PLLC


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