Tuesday Tip: Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter With a Few Simple Tips

Tuesday Tip: Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter With a Few Simple Tips

By Yehudit Garmaise

With just a little extra effort, this winter, iyH, we can help to keep everyone in our homes healthy and happy.

To strengthen the immune system and banish germs, consider taking the time to follow a few simple strategies.

Wash your hands well and often: When others sneeze and cough, they release invisible germs via droplets spewed into the air. Avert your mouth and nose from anyone who seems sick, and wash your hands well with sudsy soap many times a day: particularly before eating, when you arrive home from the outside, and after using the bathroom.

Keep your fingers away from your mouth and face: Viruses that get on fingers often get into bodies when unsuspecting people bite their fingernails, put their fingers in their eyes, a scratch their noses.

After visiting any “germy” place, such as a park, a grocery store, public transportation, or your office, avoid touching your face or mouth before you can watch your hands.

Remember to keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in your jacket pocket or purse to try to remove germs before you can get to get the job done right with running water and disinfecting soap.

Make sure to get flu shots: The single best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a yearly flu shot by November to ensure you and your children are protected throughout the winter, says Dr. Soos Pediatrics. 

Clean common surfaces often: No matter how often your family members wash their hands throughout the day, everyone in every home picks up germs that can quickly spread throughout your house. As cold and flu season kicks off, residents should clean more often to kill and banish germs. Door knobs, dresser knobs, faucet handles, countertops, and all surfaces should be disinfected with soapy water or a good spray several times a week. Also, hand towels, especially those used by multiple people, should be laundered as often as possible.

Get plenty of sleep and get moving, as all are healthy habits that boost immune systems. Adults need seven or eight hours of sleep each night, and kids need 10 to 14 hours of sleep a night, plus naps, depending on their age.

Light daily exercise, preferably outside, to get some fresh air, does not only keep you fit and trim, but getting moving for at least 15 minutes a day can help prevent many illnesses.

Active people tend to develop fewer infections during cold and flu season. In addition, regular exercise suppresses inflammatory stress hormones and stimulates the release of infection-fighting white blood cells. 

Eat well-balanced meals and drink a lot of water: Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the day and wholesome, well-balanced meals fortifies immune systems against viral invaders. Avoid sugar and other processed foods, which not only cause cavities but can cause weight gain, headaches, and  type 2 diabetes.

Try to add a serving of fruit or a vegetable to every meal. You will be surprised how much you and your kids enjoy eating cut-up fruit for snacks and dessert. At dinner, cut up vegetables, and provide little bowls of ranch dressing, hummus, or salsa for dipping.

Drink up to eight glasses of water daily to stay hydrated and flush germs out of your system. 

Choose a few activities that relax you: Living in a constant state of stress sabotages your immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to illness. 

Periodic spikes of adrenaline that cause that feeling of “fight-or-flight” can wreak havoc on your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to many illnesses. First, try to adopt a breezier attitude about things that usually stress you. Remind yourself, “This too shall pass.” Say out loud, “Hashem, I trust in You.”

Schedule 30 to 60 minutes of downtime, just for you, daily. Whether you rest, read, walk, take photographs outside, or do something else creative or social, choose something that calms and energizes you every day. 

On a weekly basis, choose a special shiur and other group gatherings that provide comfort, relief, and fun.

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