Cold and flu season are almost here! These truly are the most common illnesses in humans because of how easily they can be spread (both through the air and through touch). Now is the time to strengthen your immune system (the shield that protects your body from germs, bacteria and viruses ) so that you are able to protect yourself. This is important because if you have a weak immune system, you’re more vulnerable to getting sick. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never catch a cold, but when you have a strong immune system you’ll be better able to fight off any illness, that you do get, faster. So, here are several things that you can do to make sure that your immune system stays healthy and becomes strong.
The first thing that you need to do is take care of your nutrition. There is truth in the old saying: “garbage in, garbage out.” If you have bad eating habits, you’ll have poor nutrition, which means that your body won’t get the appropriate vitamins that it needs in order to stay strong. This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionaly have junk food, but moderation is the key. Even when you do eat healthily, you will still need to take nutritional supplements (ie vitamins, minerals and immune boosters) in order to help fill in the blanks.
You’re also going to need to exercise properly in order to build yourself a strong immune system. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to go out and join a gym or hire a personal trainer. What it does mean is that you should take nice long walks, regular bike rides, get up and do some housework or gardening. It’s simply a matter of not being sedintary… Get up and move!
Of course there are also some things which you should avoid. For instance, excessive stress (especially emotional stress) and smoking can really compromise and weaken your immune system. Studies have shown that cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds and other infections. Even exposure to passive smoke can make you (or your children) more vulnerable to colds.
You should also be certain to wash your hands often and always avoid touching your face, especially the nose, mouth, and eye areas. This is especially true if you’ve been around someone with a cold or if you’ve been touching surfaces in a public area. Frequent hand washing can destroy viruses that you have acquired from touching surfaces used by other people. Of course, carrying hand sanitizer with you will also help.
You’re not going to be able to do these things overnight either. It’s going to take work, time, effort, and concentration on your part. It is something that we must continuously strive for throughout our entire lives. I urge you to go ahead and get started today! However, if you still do get a cold or the flu there are some things that you can do to help keep the rest of your family from getting sick.
Use disposable cups so that your children won’t accidentally drink after someone else. Keep the rest of your household surfaces clean too. Viruses especially love hiding in your door knobs, drawer pulls, keyboards, light switches, telephones, remote controls, countertops, and sinks. These surfaces should frequently be disinfected. Your child’s toys should also be frequently washed whenever he/she is ill. It is also highly recommended that you use paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for hand washing since germs can live for up to several hours on cloth towels. An alternative is to have separate towels for each family member and provide a clean one for guests. If you choose to use paper towels, they should be immediately thrown away after use, as should tissues. (Used tissues are sources of virus that can contaminate any surface where they are left.)