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January 2008  
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Protect Yourself!
Gear up for the cold and flu season.

Coughing and runny noses are not fun.  Neither is sitting in bed all day and watching the same infomercial because youíre too tired to find the remote.  While there are no known cures for colds and flu, there are steps you can take towards prevention. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu is apt to make your whole life healthier and make the winter season enjoyable.

Here are some natural and simple suggestions to minimize the chances of getting sick! 

How do cold and flu viruses spead? Most often, they spread by direct contact. Someone who is sick touches a surface (telephone, doorknob, etc.) where the germs are picked up by the next person who touches that surface. Germs can live for hours, even weeks. Rubbing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto your hands and wiping down everyday items with sanitizing wipes are other precautionary steps you can take.

If you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, not your hand. While it may seem like youíre protecting those around you, muffling coughs and sneezes with your hands can pass those germs along. After using a tissue to cover up that sneeze, toss the tissue away immediately.

Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth Ė so donít touch your face!  Touching their faces is the major way children catch colds and a key way they pass colds on to their parents.

It's often been said that you need eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Water helps to flush toxins out of your system so drink a lot of water every day. Sports drinks work well, too, but donít rely on them as the sole source of your fluid intake.

There might be some truth to the idea that saunas are good for you. One bit of research showed that people who took a sauna twice a week got half as many colds. That may be because sauna air is too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.

Mom may have told you to get some fresh air. Good advice because getting out of dry indoor spaces can help you moisturize your body. Also, indoors is where germs may be recirculating. Try airing out rooms on not-so-cold days by opening windows for a few minutes.

Good aerobic exercise gets the blood pumping and transfers a lot of oxygen, which is healthful for you. This exercise helps increase the body's natural virus-killing cells.

Eat your fruits and veggies. Lots of dark green, red and yellow fruits and vegetables give your body lots of vitamins and minerals.

There may some help from yogurt, too. Some research has shown that a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce by 25 percent your likelihood of getting a cold.

Smokers tend to get worse colds more often so give up the habit. Even being around someone who smokes can dry up those protective cilia in nasal passages.

Heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways. One way is that drinking alcohol dries out the body, so cut down the amount of alcohol you consume.

Another way to boost your immune system is to relax. Learn to breathe deeply, sit quietly or even meditate for 30 minutes a day.

By taking control and practicing good, healthy habits you minimize the chance of getting a cold or the flu. Donít spend your winter coughing and sneezing the days away Ė take care of yourself!


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