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Tips to Survive Flu and Cold Season

This year’s flu and cold season is here. Time after time families succumb to sniffles, coughs, and upset stomachs during the colder months of winter. Unfortunately, there isn’t a complete miracle cure to keep you from getting sick or a fail-proof plan for surviving cold and flu season. But there are natural steps you can take that will better prepare your immune system for the germs, bacteria, and viruses it’s currently bombarded with.

If you’re looking to stay healthy and out of the doctor’s office, this guide is for you! Here are some simple and natural steps you can take.

Wash your hands. This is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of disease. Protect yourself from germs by washing your hands consistently throughout the day. You can also encourage containment of bacteria and viruses by washing surfaces, doorknobs, and light switches often.

Rest up. If you aren’t feeling well, do yourself a favor and stay home. Going to the office will only spread whatever you’re fighting and without adequate rest, your recovery time could last much longer.

Hydrate. Staying hydrated is important all the time, but especially during flu and cold season. Water helps thin mucus, drain sinuses, and relieve stuffy noses. Hot tea warms airways and acts as a decongestant as well.[1]

Supplement probiotics. Probiotics, whether from fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, or in supplement form, help prevent illness. One 2011 study found that people who consumed probiotics had 12 percent fewer upper respiratory infections compared to those who didn’t get any probiotics in their diet.[2]

Get some shut-eye. Getting more rest in the winter is important for staying healthy. One study by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who slept less than seven hours a night were almost three times more likely to get a cold compared to those who slept minimally eight hours a night.[2]

Humidify. Winter air is dry and stale, which is harsh on your respiratory system, and can cause a sore throat and exacerbate coughing. A humidifier can ease these symptoms by returning moisture to the air.

Take elderberry extract. Syrup from elderberries has been used as a holistic remedy for colds for centuries. One study conducted in 2004 by the Journal of International Medical Research found that four 15mL doses of elderberry extract a day can reduce the duration of flu symptoms by an average of four days! [2]

Gargle saltwater. There’s a reason our grandmothers have been suggesting saltwater gargles for eons; it’s because they work! Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in a warm cup of water and gargle in the back of your throat for several minutes. This is a natural way to relieve pain in your tonsils and can reduce inflammation while flushing out germs.

Get fresh air. Whether it’s from an air purifier, a cracked window, or an outdoor walk, fresh air gives you a chance to escape germs trapped indoors. It’s also important in the winter to make sure there’s adequate inflow in your house to encourage germs to keep moving along.

Get out of range. It might feel impolite, but it’s critical to your health that you move out of the firing range when people around you are coughing or sneezing. Airborne germs travel fast this way and if you don’t get out of their path, you’ll soon find yourself sick as well.

Use honey. For everyone in your household above the age of one, honey can naturally soothe a sore throat and ease a cough. WebMD even suggests it can work just as well as store-bought cough syrup! [1]

Supplement with ginseng. One study found that subjects who took a specific ginseng extract caught half as many colds as a group only taking a placebo. [3]

Eat a whole foods diet. A diet rich in whole foods provides your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, cofactors, enzymes, and antioxidants it needs to prevent and rid itself of infection and boost your immunity.

Exercise regularly. One study found that routine exercise cut the likelihood of contracting a cold by 50% and the harshness of its symptoms by 31%.[3]

Manage stress. Your emotions play a critical role in your ability to fight off infection. You can help improve your emotional and mental state by meditating, journaling, praying, or having moments of quiet to yourself.

There’s nothing worse than being sick all winter long. With these natural remedies and tips, surviving cold and flu season is a cinch when you  boost your immunity to stay healthy.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent

[1] Ratini, M. (2015). 11 tips to survive cold and flu season. Accessed November 24, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/cold-flu-season/slideshow-cold-flu-tips

[2] Health Magazine (2015). The ultimate cold and flu survival guide. Accessed November 24, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/23/health/cold-flu-survival-guide/

[3] Mercola (2013). Flu attack! How a virus invades your body. Accessed November 25, 2015. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/06/flu-attack.aspx

Tags: Cold, Cough, Elderberry, Fever, Flu, Fresh Air, Healthy, Honey, Humidify, Hydrate, Probiotics, Rest, Sick, Survive

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†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.