Thursday, August 18th, 2011

How to Prevent Flu

woman sneezingThis time of the year, when everyone around you is doubling up sneezing or coughing, and it seems that it is just not possible to escape flu, My Health Guardian comes with a prevention plan. Agreed, flu is terribly contagious, still you can prevent it. Like all things in life, you just need to plan right and stick to the plan. Keep reading to learn more.

Let’s get the facts right at the outset. To avoid flu you need to emphasize on hand hygiene and wash your hands well, after you’ve used rest rooms. Even when you are back from crowded places (read elevators, restaurants) or handled money, door knobs, wash your hands well or use hand sanitisers. Avoid touching your face, nose or mouth as this is the shortcut to transfer flu virus.

Now, comes the important part, how you could enhance your immunity to stay healthy in this flu season.

1.     Well, let’s start with the most important antioxidant called vitamin C. You could take a supplement or have fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C, before the onset of flu season. By the way, vitamin C is water soluble, so you don’t need to worry about it. The excess always finds a way out. You could also try starting your day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice to detox your system. There is some evidence on Echinacea, which helps enhance immunity. Garlic and ginger too enhance immunity. Ideally, put these herbs generously in homemade tomato soup to bolster your immunity.

2.     Eat simply during change of seasons. Change of seasons particularly, the wet weather of monsoon can be difficult for your immune health. Ayurveda explains that you should eat simple, home cooked food, which is freshly made and green vegetables like lauki, karela, tinda, parwal which will enhance your digestion, which is linked to your immune health.

3. How about getting  fresh air and exercising? Yes, it helps enhance your immune health. However, lazy or sluggish you feel it makes sense to drag yourself for those brisk walks, or aerobic sessions. And exercise releases endorphins, the feel good hormones. After a while, you get addicted to it, it’s just the initial struggle to get out of the bed.

4.     Most importantly learn to manage stress to become invincible to cold and flu. Stress is too much of a burden on the body and it begins to crumble under the pressure. Each one of us have to find our own way to manage stress. Delegating work, priortising, listening to music, indulging in your hobby, taking mini vacations are helpful in managing stress. However, the most effective way is meditation and it is no way linked to religion. Try focussing on your breath and when you inhale allow positive thoughts to go in and when you exhale, let the negativity find a way out.

There is a bit of conflict on eating cold foods like ice cream during night in order to avoid cold and flu. While Ayurveda recommends avoiding such foods, modern medicine is quiet on it. We would say exercise discretion and avoid extra cold foods at bedtime because you should finish your meals two hours before you hit the bed.

Still if you are down with flu take steam, do warm salted water gargles, take a pain killer preferably paracetamol, use rest and avoid antibiotics, because flu is caused by virus.

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