4 Preventative Measures to Fight Cold and Flu

fluI know that much of what I’m going to say involves common sense…

But, when you think about it people still get sick despite the knowledge they possess.

Many times, we are either too busy to focus on helping ourselves prevent sickness, or we simply don’t care or don’t practice proper preventative measures to keep us from getting sick.

The [h1n1] virus is contagious and is believed to spread from human to human in much the same way as seasonal flu. The most common mechanisms by which it spreads are by droplets from coughs and sneezes of infected people, and touching a surface or the hand of a person contaminated with virus, and then touching one’s mouth or nose.

Perhaps also, in the back of our minds we simply are resolved in thinking that, well, if we get sick we get sick. It was a luck of the draw.

Preventative Measures

But, there are obviously key factors in helping prevent the common cold or flu, and they all revolve around factors of prevention aside from the annual flu shot each one of us is supposed to voluntarily receive.

The whole controversy surrounding flu shots is another story that I’ll probably cover in another post, but let’s focus more on prevention and covering ways we can help prevent sickness.

  • 1. Wash Your Hands… Frequently!

    This is a very simple task. It’s just that we need to remind ourselves to wash our hands frequently, because our hands touch a lot of things and we can come into contact with many people in any given day. So, we simply need to get into the habit of washing our hands as frequently as possible.

  • 2. Frequently Clean What Your Hands Touch!

    We probably don’t do this often enough, but we should clean things that we touch on a daily basis. This would include:

    1. all door knobs
    2. remote controls
    3. microwave ovens
    4. computer keyboards
    5. steering wheels
    6. toilet flushing handles

    If we could get into a good habit of cleaning all surfaces that your family touches around the home, I think this practice alone would help prevent spreading germs that would cause illness.

  • 3. Avoid Too Much Contact in Public Places

    Humans are obviously social creatures. Especially during the holiday season, we come into frequent contact with friends and relatives, and even strangers.

    While it’s impossible for most of us to avoid the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers, we at least can consciously work on limiting the number of times we come into contact with people, and reduce the frequency of human contact as much as possible.

  • 4. Take Care of Your Body and Help Build your Immune System

    Eating as healthy as possible is something many of us simply don’t focus on enough. During the flu and holiday season we are bombarded with unhealthy and processed foods that set us up to get sick. Beginning with Halloween, we are tempted into eating too many chocolates and other candies. Then Thanksgiving comes along and we are bombarded with too much turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie and not enough healthy fruits and vegetables. By Christmas we’ve probably already had too many unhealthy foods and have eaten too much of it.

    Bottom line: We all need to eat more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. And if we aren’t getting enough proper nutrition, take a multi-vitamin and other healthy supplements to help build our immune system.

    Regarding Herbal Remedies and Vitamin Supplements

    Herbal remedies such as Echinacea, and Vitamin Supplements like C and Zinc can help in preventing the common cold:

    Herbal remedies, such as Echinacea and zinc lozenges, may assist if taken properly. Take at the first sign of a cold, but do not exceed the recommended dosage.

    Making sure one gets enough vitamins and minerals is important for overall health, but does Vitamin C REALLY help prevent the common cold?

    From QuackWatch.org:

    If you choose to supplement when a cold strikes, there is no reason to take more than 250 mg per day, as shown in the 1974 Anderson study. This amount is easily obtained from the age-old “remedy,” fruit juices. Supplementation with larger amounts of vitamin C has not been shown to be more effective, and it may cause diarrhea or have other adverse effects.

    Basically, eating a healthy balanced diet should provide the necessary nutrition to help the body combat harmful microorganisms. And eating less processed, packaged foods and more nutritious whole foods is the best bet, while reducing overall intake of saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugar and salt.

    Above all else, it’s important to drink enough fresh, purified water since our bodies are more than 70% water, and we need to flush out our system of toxins and bodily wastes. Water helps facilitate each cell’s growth and purging of waste materials through our eliminative processes.

The Importance of these Preventative Measures

In summary, it’s possible that whatever we do, it still might not be enough to successfully keep us from catching a cold or flu. But, we can still follow preventative measures to reduce our chances, and to help us recover from a cold or flu if we DO catch it.

With a lot of media attention focused on the H1N1 influenza virus, it is important to do whatever we can to keep our bodies healthy and our immune system strong. Whatever viruses are out there, it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of taking care of our bodies anyway.

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Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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