If there is one thing we can all universally agree on, it’s that getting sick bites. (That, and Donald Trump needs to take a long walk off of a very short pier… and soon.)
No one likes getting sick, no one has time to get sick, and no one chooses to be sick.
But, getting sick is like the schoolyard bully. Pretty soon, one day or another, it will pick on you.
Right now we are in the thick of the flu season and if the schoolyard bully has not kicked your butt yet, you probably know someone who has had theirs kicked.
In Canada the active influenza season starts in November and ends in March (Public Health Agency of Canada). Flu viruses constantly change, with a new and fresh seasonal flu appearing each and every flu season.
It’s like the latest fall fashion, minus the Instagram account.
The flu seems to be picking up steam too. During the past five years, incidents of people being admitted to the hospital due to influenza-associated problems have increased at a staggering rate.
During the 2011–2012 flu season there were a total of 1,151 adult hospitalizations in Canada (an adult hospitalization is classified as anyone over the age of 20 years).
Flash forward to the last year’s flu season and there were 6,720 adult hospitalizations. (Public Health Agency of Canada).
That’s a 484 percent increase in less than five years. Wow.
To help you avoid the flu, I recruited naturopath Dr. Heli McPhie of The Village Clinic in Tsawwassen to provide us with her best tips to fight back and stay healthy.
10 Tips to Avoid the Flu
1/ Keep yourself fit.
First and foremost flu prevention starts with a healthy body and mind. So exercise regularly (my personal favourite tip), take your supplements, eat well, laugh often (in other words, don’t let stress get the best of you), quit smoking (if you smoke), and rest.
2/ Keep it clean.
Her next tip is one we hear from all health professionals all the time: wash your hands.
Because we touch our faces an incredible number of times in a day, it is vital to constantly keep our hands clean.
In addition, she also recommends that you teach your children to wash their hands before eating.
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3/ Sneeze here please.
If you do happen to catch a cold, or the flu, be sure sneeze into your “sneeze pocket” – that’s your elbow, not your hands. This will reduce the spread of the flu virus, which is an important part of flu prevention.
You can also help reduce the spread of the flu virus by not sharing food or drinks, straws, and utensils. Also, say no to double dippers and remember to toss those tissues.
4/ Oh thank you for coming to work sick today! We appreciate it – said nobody ever.
If you are sick, make sure you stay at home, too. Don’t be a hero and go to work. You are only spreading the virus to those around you, which is not as appreciated as you may think.I'm sick. Looks like I will be laying in bed all day. Oh wait, I'm a mom. Click To Tweet
5/ All you need is love.
Take the time you need to care for yourself. Being a wee bit selfish is okay because if you aren’t well, you cannot be there for those you care for and who may need you.
6/ MD or ND.
If your symptoms are severe, or you are worried, check in with your doctor or a naturopath and then rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy (such as clear veggie and/or chicken soups).
Also chat with your MD or ND about other ways to prevent the flu, such as the flu vaccine.
Sleep well and rest.Sleep and rest is vital for maintaining good overall health and, in turn, a healthy immune system.
I learned this one the hard way myself. Last Christmas I was not resting properly and was burnt out and stressed out, and by Christmas morning I was sick as a dog.
And, big tip, if sleep is an issue for you, book an appointment with Dr. McPhie; she’s brilliant with sleep problems.
8/ Chill out.
The next step to fighting the cold and flu is to simply relax. Reducing stress levels will keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Find time, every day, to relieve and reduce your stress. Your body will reward you and it will be strong enough to fight the cold and flu virus.
9/ Get a protein fix.
Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. Make sure you get protein-rich foods throughout the day, such as fish, eggs, tofu and yogurt.
10/ Care is absolute. Prevention is ideal.
And, Dr. McPhie’s final takeaway: prevent first because it is always easier to prevent than cure.
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