Cold and flu season is no joke. But rather than simply hoping you don't catch a bug, focus on getting prepared with knowledge, intention and - you may have guessed - stocked shelves! Plus, since getting sick is part of being human, let's also look at ways to get better faster when the sniffles do strike. So, what are the wellness tasks that help keep us on top of our game? Hopefully some of these are already habits, or soon to be adopted ones:
- Wash your hands. "Hands down" the number one thing to stay well is to keep your hands clean. Both cold and flu viruses are passed from person to person through direct contact, coughing and sneezing. Viruses are plentiful on surfaces, and the ones for the common cold (rhinovirus) are still alive three hours after contact. Not around a sink? Try hand wipes or sprays such as EO Hand Sanitizing Spray with Organic Peppermint Essential Oil. It's naturally antiseptic, energizing and invigorating.
- Drink plenty of water. Cells in the body need to be hydrated to engage their strongest defenses. Specifically, cell membranes are most able to defend themselves against viruses when they are flexible and moist. Aim for the recommended eight glasses a day.
- Eat immune-supportive foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide the body with essential nutritional building blocks such as vitamins A, C, selenium, zinc, essential fatty acids and various bioflavonoids that help build important white blood cells and other various components of the immune system. Dark leafy greens and bright yellow and orange vegetables contain beta-carotene and other immune-boosting carotenoids, such as lutein and lycopene. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and radishes all contain powerful phytochemicals. Other immune enhancing foods include green tea, fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, as well as common kitchen spices: turmeric, cayenne pepper, allspice and ginger. In addition, it's a good idea to replace refined sugar with fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, or unrefined sweeteners such as brown rice syrup or agave syrup.
- Consider immune-supportive formulas. When you're on the go and need a little extra help staying well, it may be smart to give your immune a boost with well-researched combinations of herbs, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Formulas such as Source Naturals Wellness Formula® are specifically designed to effectively improve overall wellbeing and enhance immune support.
- Wellness Formulas. Mentioned above, these combinations are also helpful for getting back on track. They are especially helpful when under the physical stress that sickness brings.
- Elderberry. This is a fruit extract found in popular cold and flu syrups that has been shown to decrease severity of symptoms as well as shorten the duration of cold and flu. Noted for its good taste, this syrup is packed with powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins. Use quality products made from elderberry extract such as Gaia Herbs Rapid Relief Black Elderberry Syrup rather than the fresh plant.
- Neti pots or nasal flushes with warm slightly-salted water can help bring relief from congestion and sinus pressure during a cold. Neti pots are specifically designed for nasal flushes, with easy to use spouts and handles.
- Try Homeopathy. Help the body ward off full-blown flu with homeopathic remedies. When taken at the first sign of sickness, these therapeutic diluted micro-doses of natural substances can provide temporary relief of symptoms including fever, chills and body aches. Try 365 Flu Ease when you think you may have the flu.
- Time-tested soothing botanicals such as eucalyptus, fennel and aloe vera. Found in cooling and aromatic bath products such as Kiss My Face Cold & Flu Shower & Bath Gel, with no animal ingredients, artificial colors or unnecessary chemicals. These botanicals can make a sick day more bearable, or just put some pep in your everyday step.