Tips for Cold and Flu Prevention

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly. As a child I was taught to sing the alphabet song and keep rubbing my hands under the running water until I was done. Research shows that it takes about 20 seconds of friction to remove germs from the skin.

Keep your hands away from your face. The main ways into the body for viruses are the nose and mouth.

Gargle twice a day with warm salt water. Many viruses take 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to multiply and show symptoms; gargling prevents this growth. This simple preventative method is highly effective.

Drink a lot of warm liquids (warm or hot water with lemon, tea, etc.). These fluids wash growing viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive the acidic environment. Furthermore, the mucus membranes in your nose help keep invaders out, and you need to be hydrated in order for them to be effective.

Use a Neti pot daily. If you can’t, blow your nose hard once a day and swab both nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in warm salt water to help prevent viral growth.

Get plenty of rest. The amount of sleep you get has a great impact on the immune system.

Avoid eating sugar/sugary foods. Sugar impacts your white blood cells by competing for space in those cells with Vitamin C, and white blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses.

Eat more fruits and vegetables to get immune boosting benefits from Vitamin C and other phytonutrients found in these foods. The colors of produce give you a clue for how they help the immune system.

Choose orange fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash to get more beta carotene, the precursor your body turns into Vitamin A. This nutrient helps your immune system by supporting healthy lungs and lymph and by helping maintain the barriers between you and the external environment.

Dark greens like kale, chard and spinach contain beta carotene and Vitamin E that help your body fend off cold and flu infections.

Fresh red and pink produce like red peppers (these are powerhouses, containing twice as much Vitamin C as oranges), strawberries and pink grapefruit are especially high in Vitamin C. Other produce high in Vitamin C includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, pineapple, oranges, and kiwi.

Get acupuncture to help boost your immune system.