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With winter’s bitter temperatures putting even more pressure on immune systems, the sniffles- cold and flu- are going around. This year’s flu season has been particularly nasty, with more people becoming seriously ill. The best medicine is prevention, so take steps to protect your family from cold and flu, and beat the sniffles before they begin.

Eat Well For Healthy Lungs

Getting plenty of the vitamins and minerals your body needs with healthy foods is one of the top ways to boost your immune system. Fill your plate with plenty of dark, leafy greens and a multitude of colors to ensure you’re getting the best possible range of vitamins in your diet. Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Your mucus membranes function most efficiently when they’re sufficiently moist. Staying well hydrated helps protect those important barriers to cold and flu germs.

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Wash your Hands

Your mother was right- washing your hands often is the best way to stay healthy. Up to 35% of surfaces hold the rhinovirus for18 hours after being touched by someone with a cold. Touching those surfaces and then touching your face or eyes is one of the most common ways viruses are transmitted. Avoid contact with others who are coughing or sneezing, wash your hands frequently, and try to avoid touching your face. Tuck a small bottle of hand sanitizer into your pocket or purse for when you don’t have ready access to soap and water.

 

Probiotics For the Win

Adding probiotics to your diet, either by eating more yogurt, aged cheese, sauerkraut or kimchi, or by taking probiotic supplements recommended by your doctor. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help your gut processes run smoothly, helping to support your immune health.

Sleep Well

Finally, be sure to get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on your overall health and weaken your ability to fight off colds and flu. Be sure to get to bed early and get a full 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Patients who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are three times more likely to develop a respiratory illness than those who get eight hours or more. Even minor sleep deprivation suppresses immune function.

Suffering from sniffles or want a preemptive checkup? Call Alpha Care today for your appointment.