Thursday, November 5, 2009

Keep Colds And The Flu Away

Although it's impossible to avoid all germs, many doctors agree there are measures you can take to keep from catching every virus that goes around. Start by getting enough rest -- at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night -- and eating balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are a few extra precautions to lessen your chances of getting sick:

1} Wash your hands often, especially after touching public areas like doorknobs and shaking hands with other people. As you lather up, mentally sing “Happy Birthday” twice before you rinse with warm water -- that's the length of time you should spend washing your hands.  Extra tip: Carry your own ink pens to use in public places like banks and grocery stores.

2} When you can't get to a sink, use an alcohol hand sanitizer. – I used to think it was overkill for a normal person with a functioning immune system, but with both seasonal and swine flu, plus the usual cold viruses floating around this year, I plan on being more vigilant and buying packets of alcohol-based-moist towelettes to carry in my purse.

3} Reduce stress in your life. – Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and plan your time wisely. Not only will you lower stress, you'll pace yourself and get more done in the long run. [My mother, who is a pistol, once said, “You can live without food or money if you have to, but stress will bring you down, make you old and kill you faster than anything else in the world.”  This is the same woman who warned me to stay away from the knives because I could poke my eyes out and to hand over the scissors because I could cut my fingers off, but she's right about stress.]

4} Enjoy a social life that makes you happy – First of all, you need some exposure to germs to build up immunities. And studies show, happy people are healthier people.

5} Winterize your diet with these 4 foods: a) 100% fruit juice – According to "You, The Owner's Manual," we need 500 mg of Vitamin C a day. In Winter, I drink orange, pineapple and mango juices and buy oranges and grapefruit. Taking Vitamin C pills work too; b) Eat yogurt – Yogurt, containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, fights off fungus infections, say Drs. Roizen and Oz, authors of the "You" books; c) As it turns out, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. That's because apples have flavonoids. Flavonoids help the body kill germs more efficiently. Other foods rich in flavonoids, include cranberries, black, green and white teas, oatmeal, broccoli, chili peppers and red wine; d) Consume ginger and turmeric. – Both have properties that boost the immune system and help ward off infections. So eat curries and oriental dishes in Winter to stay healthy.

Why not start Autumn with healthy habits? It's better to prevent a cold than to nurse one. So take good care of yourself.

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