Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season 101

Staying healthy, especially during cold and flu season, is a concern for many. Add COVID-19, and many are questioning what steps they can take to stay safe and healthy!

The number one way to protect yourself from illness is handwashing! Proper handwashing is essential. One factor to consider is that a sink is not always available. In this case, hand sanitizer should be used until proper hand washing is achievable! Be mindful of what you are touching. When in doubt, wash or sanitize.

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet! This includes drinking an adequate amount of water. Water provides many health benefits, including preventing kidney damage, lubricating joints, and aiding in digestion to name a few. The recommended amount of water intake is eight 8-ounce glasses per day.

Limit carbohydrate and sugar intake. Our bodies break carbohydrates into sugar. Sugar curbs the immune system cells that attack bacteria. This increases risk of infection(s). Be sure to also include protein rich foods in your diet. Protein helps the body repair tissue and fight both viral and bacterial infections. Protein is required to create immune system cells and antibodies.

 Your body needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Certain proteins called cytokines are released by your body during sleep. Stress, inflammation, and/or infections increase the number of cytokines needed by the body. With sleep deprivation, not as many cytokines are produced, thereby increasing risk.

Exercise changes antibodies and white blood cells in a way that helps the body fight off illness. Bacteria is flushed from airways and lungs during physical activity, which decreases the risk of colds and pneumonia.

In conclusion, wash your hands, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise often, and sleep well.