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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Beating the Bug: Cold and Flu Prevention

Well it’s that time of year again. The weather is colder and, in some cases, wetter. Everyone is busy with holidays and end of the year activities. The days are shorter. We spend more time indoors. It’s also that time of year when the cold and flu are uninvited guests into our lives. I don’t know about you, but I know I certainly don’t have the time to be sick ever, but especially not during the holidays. There are too many parties and fun gatherings to participate in. Of course, germs and viruses don’t take note of my social calendar so I have to work at avoiding getting sick.

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Image Credit: Patrizia Tilly/ThinkStock by Getty Images

Nothing is foolproof, but there are some simple things anyone can do to help boost their health and dodge illness each cold and flu season. It’s about prevention, but also about your reactions once you do start feeling under the weather. Starting with prevention the absolute top two things you can do is get enough rest and drink enough water. Resting isn’t just about sleeping. It’s about taking the time to relax and allow yourself to do very little. I like to put on my comfortable pants, get my favorite blanket, curl up on the couch and watch favorite television shows in the evenings or even just on a weekend. I also sometimes try to squeeze in a nap in addition to going to bed a little earlier during cold and flu season when possible. Couple that with staying adequately hydrated (at least eight glasses, usually ten for me) and the body has a good first line of defense.

After I’ve attended to the basics I also like to incorporate foods that help keep my system running at peak bug-fighting levels. I love adding peppers and garlic to my food during cold and flu season. Red peppers are full of Vitamin C, but the spiciness of other peppers really is great for the body. They contain capsaicin which has been shown to help fight and prevent sinus infections. Garlic naturally has antibacterial properties as well so during cold and flu season I add both to things like spaghetti and chili for hearty meals that are helping fight the sick. Spicy salsa is also a great choice to get both healthy immune boosters in! I also like to drink lemon water for additional vitamin C. It’s also a great way to help with the previously mentioned hydrating! It’s a win-win!

With my body rested, hydrated, and given some serious nutritional fuel I also practice active prevention through hygiene. This means washing my hands regularly and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when I can’t. I also try to make sure that I am washing my office water cup and coffee mug in hot, soapy water every day as opposed to slacking off and washing it only a couple of times a week. This extra cleaning also goes for my sheets, especially my pillowcases. I will wash those or at least change them more frequently. This has extra benefit of helping prevent acne as well.

These things usually work to keep me healthy, but every so often I will catch something. When I start to feel something trying to catch up with me I have two go-tos: extra sleep and a hot shower. At the first sign of illness going to bed early and sleeping as much as you can will give your body an opportunity to focus on fighting off the bug. Many of us get sicker than we otherwise might because we try to work through it and that ultimately causes us to lose multiple days. Take just one to get rest and you’ll feel better faster and be sick less time. And that hot shower? It just makes you feel good. Nothing feels quite as good and healthy as being fresh and clean. The steam from the shower clears the head, too, making it easier to breathe.

What are some of your remedies or strategies? Let me know in comments!

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One Comment on “Beating the Bug: Cold and Flu Prevention”

  1. attaullahjournalist December 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Attaullahkha Welcomes You.

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