The flu season is officially here and I know none of my readers want to catch influenza this year. The flu can be debilitating and knock you out for a week or more. Who can afford that in this day and age? Watching out for friends, family, and co-workers that have the bug is a good start but it’s not going to be enough to keep you germ free. I have come up with a list of 6 tips to keep you flu free this season.
1) One of the best ways to avoid illness is to wash your hands.
Follow this step by step guide and your hands will be germ free in no time:
Wet your hands with warm running water and apply a small amount of soap.
Rub your hands together to create a lather with the soap. Cover all of your hands and your wrists with the lather. Rub your hands together for 15 to 20 seconds. Don’t have a clock? Sing the Happy Birthday song or your ABC’s both are about 15-20 seconds in length.
Rinse your hands in warm, running water. Make sure your fingers are facing down. Cupping your handing to grab water just holds the germs inside. (If you wear a wedding ring make sure you take it off when you wash your hands. Germs breed in warm moist areas.)
Use a paper towel or air dryer to dry your hands. Avoid cloth towels that have been used by several people.
Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door to a public restroom so you avoid contact with an unclean surface.
3) Use nose spray to alleviate dryness. When the air outside gets colder, it gets a lot drier and that cold air dries out the membranes of the nose. This is bad news for the mucous membranes, which rely on moisture to trap invading microbes and protect us from them.
4) Use a Humidifier. Additionally, in dry air, particles like the flu virus can stay airborne longer. By moistening the air, the water droplets will adhere to the particles, sending them downward.
5) Get enough sleep. Make time for sleep this fall if you want to avoid catching the flu. Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on immune function, and chronic sleep loss can increase an individual's vulnerability to infectious diseases.
6) Manage your stress level. - Chronic stress can raise cortisol levels and weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to colds and the flu.
If you happen to be the unlucky one who catches the flu this year
There isn’t much you can do except let it run it’s course. There are however certain foods that can help you get back to feeling like a human being a little faster than usuall. My favorite thing to eat when I am sick is chicken Soup. Nourishing and hydrating, there's also some scientific evidence that chicken soup may help with healing and have mild anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have found that hot chicken soup can improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.
My favorite recipie is from Martha Stewart.
· 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves, stems reserved
· 5 whole black peppercorns
· 1 dried bay leaf
· 3 sprigs fresh thyme
· 1 clove garlic
· 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
· 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
· 1 to 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
· 1 (4-pound) chicken, rinsed
· Coarse salt
· Tie parsley stems together using kitchen twine. Prepare a bouquet garni: Place peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic in a 5-by-5-inch piece of cheesecloth; tie to enclose using kitchen twine.
· In a large pot, combine parsley stems, bouquet garni, carrots, parsnips, onions, and chicken, breast-side down. Add enough water to cover; season with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top and discard.
· Remove chicken from pot, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Skim fat from surface of soup, if desired, and discard. Remove and discard parsley stems and bouquet garni. Remove meat from bones; discard skin and bones. Shred meat into bite-size pieces, and return to pot. Cook until heated through; season with salt. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Enjoy and Get well soon J