Ah—the flu. If there’s anything that can strike fear into the hearts of holiday do-gooders and everyone else this season, it’s the countless microscopic bugs that barge into our bodies uninvited and tear our immune system from top to bottom.
Everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Take everyday preventive actions that are recommended to reduce the spread of flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Cleaning common surfaces like doorknobs, handles, and keyboards.
Following these steps can help avoid the flu- but there is no guarantee. Getting vaccinated is one approach, but if you’d prefer more natural allies against this impalpable threat, these four should do the trick.
PROBIOTICS: The same live cultures that can ease digestive stress can also stave off colds. Research conducted in 2012 compared two groups of college students suffering from colds: The group that took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus recovered two days earlier and reported symptoms that were 34-percent less severe.
OSCILLOCOCCINUM: This is an easy-to-take, low-cost homeopathic medicine that can be used on children as young as 2. Clinical studies show that Oscillococcinum shortens both the severity and duration of flu symptoms. A recent study found that when patients took Oscillococcinum within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, nearly 63 percent showed “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” within 48 hours.
CHICKEN SOUP: has properties that slow the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells, according to research published in the journal Chest, and when white blood cells move more slowly, they spend more time in the areas of the body that need them most. The steam from the soup also helps open nasal passages, and the salty broth can soothe a sore throat.
ZINC LOZENGES: pop them as soon as you feel symptoms set in. Zinc is an essential mineral to the cells of the immune system, and a 2013 Cochrane Library analysis of 18 trials found that ingesting daily dose of 75 milligrams within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms reduces the duration of the illness. If you’re able to start taking zinc at the very first signs of flu and it doesn’t upset your stomach, it’s likely safe for you to use it as a preventive measure. If you have any concerns, reach out to your doctor.
During flu season, make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, exercise regularly and keep stress levels under control. Taking care of yourself helps strengthen your immune system, which helps you fight off the flu and any other illnesses you’re exposed to. And if you do get the flu take precautions. People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.