Guest Blog: Staying Healthy During Flu Season by Megan McGrane
Staying Healthy During Flu Season
This article was authored by Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Megan McGrane
It is the time of year where colds, viruses, and flu are all around! Co-workers coughing and family members sneezing may make you think catching the flu is inevitable. But think again! Here are a few super simple ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season!
1. Just Like Grandma Always Said: Wash Your Hands!
Make sure you are washing your hands with warm soapy water for a least 30 seconds to 1 minute before eating or after touching public surfaces. (Sing Happy Birthday two times through in your head to get a good wash). Avoid ‘antibacterial soap’ and instant hand sanitizers if possible because of ingredients like Triclosan which is an endocrine disruptor and also causes bacterial resistance. Plain old soap and warm water is best!
2. Hit the Hay
This time of year getting adequate rest helps protect your immune system. Getting run down is a fast way to pick up a cold or flu. When you are fatigued your body can not adequately fight off the viruses you come in contact with! Be sure you are turning in for 7 to 9 hours a night.
3. Sweat Once a Day
Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system and keep your body in fighting shape when it comes to avoiding the flu! Taking time to sweat, stretch and breathe for at least 20 minutes per day can help you avoid a sick day. Too cold or snowy to leave home? No excuses here: pop in Kristin’s Power Yoga DVD or S3 for a heart pumping, immune boosting workout!
4. Increase Your Fluids
Staying hydrated is a surefire way to help your body fight germs. Bacteria and viruses love to sneak into your body through dry cracks in your nasal passages and mouth! By staying hydrated you keep your body’s barrier functions going strong. Also, drinking plenty of water gives you a chance to flush your system and keep things moving. When things get stagnant, viruses and bacteria have time to do their work. Keeping a bottle of lemon water or a cup of tea on hand will do the trick.
5. Think About a Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D is one of the only supplements seen in clinical trials to reduce the risk of influenza. If you live in an area where sunshine is at a minimum this time of year (almost everywhere north of the equator!) consider taking an adequate multivitamin with Vitamin D3 included.
6. Eat Your Greens
Getting plenty of flu fighting nutrients each day is key to staying healthy all year long. Green smoothies and green juice are an easy way to boost your flu-fighting nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants. By upping your veggie intake you are also crowding out processed and sugary foods that actually depress your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infection. Try blending a green juice or smoothie for breakfast to start your day off.
About Megan McGrane
Megan McGrane, MS PA-C, is an Emergency Room Physician Assistant as well as Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is a former Division I Volleyball All-American and is now an aspiring yogi and autoimmune warrior. You can find her at MeganMcGrane.com.