Flu and Cold Prevention

Every year millions of people around the world are affected by cold or flu during the fall and winter months. Instead of becoming one of the millions, you can use the power of prevention to help you remain healthy this cold and flu season.

One of the easiest things anyone can do to avoid getting sick is to follow good hygiene. Cover your mouth whenever you have to cough or sneeze to avoid spreading germs. Wash your hands often or use a hand sanitizer. Avoid putting your hands near your face so you don’t unknowingly transfer germs by putting your hand near your mouth or rubbing your eyes.

Get plenty of rest so your body isn’t compromised by fatigue. When you’re fatigued or tired the chances are you’ll become sick easier, so being rested as well as unstressed is important.

Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day. If you’re trying to do the math, that’s eight 8 ounce glasses, which may seem like quite a bit. Why is staying hydrated important? It helps the immune system remain strong and will help anyone already feeling sick feel better. You may have to build up to drinking 64 ounces of water a day, but your body will thank you for it even at other times of the year.

Speaking of the immune system, eating good, nutrient and vitamin-filled foods will improve it. Dieticians generally recommend eating a minimum of five fruits and vegetables each day. However, maybe you have a picky eater in your home. Over-the-counter multi-vitamins are available to ensure you and your family gets the nutrients needed. You can also take herbs to make your immune system stronger.

Goldenseal, an herb which is a part of the buttercup plant family, has been used around the world for thousands of years. In the United States, Cherokee used the roots to make a tincture or tea to treat sore throats and reduce swelling in mucous membranes associated with colds. It was also used by the Aborigines in Australia long before it became a country. This herb, however, is becoming rare in the wild; you can find sources online which carry it.

Echinacea, or purple coneflower, improves the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. White blood cells attack the invading virus cells, so having more of them in the system will make the immune system more effective. Echinacea can be taken as a capsule or as a tincture twice a day for up to two weeks.

Astragalus has been used by the Chinese to strengthen the immune system for many years. They particularly use it when related to the respiratory system which is greatly affected by colds and flu. Use this herb to strengthen an already healthy immune system rather than trying to use it to fight off a cold. It can be taken as an herb or a tincture daily.

Siberian ginseng is another herb which is known to enhance the immune system, as is licorice. These herbs are great when taken on their own, but when used in conjunction with Echinacea and astragalus the resulting effects are increased.

No one wants to get sick with cold or flu. Using the power of prevention by trying these immune system boosting ideas may keep you and your family healthier this cold and flu season.