According to a video news report posted on the ABC News website, 47 U.S. states have reported widespread flu outbreaks. And although the worst may be behind us, it will continue to be important for Americans – regardless of age – to take measures to prevent a flu attack.
To decrease the chances of getting hit with the flu this season, the Huffington Post published an article with a handful of tips and suggestions. They are as follows:
1. Wash your hands
One of the most effective and easiest methods of flu prevention is something we should all do several times a day–simply because it's good manners. Do it after you use the restroom, of course, but also after you've shaken someone's hand, kissed hello, been on public transportation, attended a party, gone to the gym, and many other situations. You can never be too careful, especially this time of year.
2. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important in every season, but it is particularly useful in the winter. It's easy to forget to drink enough water in the cold weather, as we're not sweating as much as we do when it's warmer outside. Steadily drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can boost your immune system, keeping your body strong and ready to fight off illnesses all year round.
Like water, exercise has immune-boosting effects. It also enhances circulation, reduces stress, and offers another mode of eliminating toxins through perspiration, according to naturopathic doctor Amy Rothenberg. Of course, take care not to overdo it. If you're really sick, get plenty of rest and consult a medical professional before engaging in any physical activities.
4. Eat an organic, plant-based diet
Increase the amount of organic fruits and vegetables in your diet, particularly those high in vitamin C, such as papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale. To be safe, you can also take a vitamin C supplement, such as camu c
amu, a plant-derived antioxidant vitamin that is considered a top source of vitamin C.
5. Take a vitamin D supplement
Have your vitamin D levels checked with a simple blood test from your physician. If they're low, consider taking a vitamin D supplement to help prevent not only the flu, but also a host of other health conditions–like cancer and cardiovascular disease–that have been linked to vitamin D deficiency.
6. Enlist probiotics
As discussed in the Green Your Tummy blog, these so-called “good bacteria” in your gut have been shown to help fend off colds and the flu and can rebalance the bacteria we need in our bodies that can be destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics come in pill form, and a typical dosage is in the billions of CF units, but you can also introduce probiotics into your diet through yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir, and sauerkraut.
7. Try elderberry
Elderberry syrup is not only packed with vitamins A, B, and C, but it also stimulates the immune system, has been shown to prevent colds and the flu, and tastes delicious. At The Imus Ranch, elderberry syrup is made from scratch, but you can find a bottle at your local natural foods market. If you feel a tickle in your throat, soothe it with some elderberry tea.
8. Use essential oils
Essential oils are restorative, curative, and natural antibacterial agents. They also happen to smell pretty great. Diffuse grade-A essential oils throughout your home, or apply them topically to your skin. Apply some oregano oil to your back, chest, and the bottoms of your feet. Aside from being a natural antibiotic, it also has bacteria-fighting properties and is a powerful antihistamine.
9. Get your omega-3s
Rather than turn to fish oil for your health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, consider going right to the source and using marine phytoplankton instead. It's where fish get their omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, as well as their vitamin A. You can enjoy the benefits by simply adding 10 to 15 drops into your water or juice.