15 ways For Mid-Lifers To Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Flu season is here with a vengeance.  To make matters worse, the flu season always seems to come right around the holiday season.  The extra stress, cold, and general hurried pace don't help those who are trying to ward off the flu.  As a mid-lifer, I feel the need to take extra care of myself and be more aware of the do's and don't when it comes to preventing getting the flu.  

Here are a few suggestions to help prevent the flu.  Some of these tips you may already be doing, but just in case, let's go over a few practices that will help fortify our immune system and keep us healthy.

Rest - even though this is a busy time of the year, rest is more important than standing in the lines at the stores.  Plan your days so that you also allow for a bit more rest.  Learn how to say "no" when you are beginning to feel weary and tired.   As mid-lifers, the holidays usually means visits with the grandchildren and others that you don't normally see.  While this is wonderful use your wisdom to decide what you can and cannot do.  This is the time of the year when there are a lot of activities, a lot of tasks that need to be done, and just plain stress.  Choose which activities you want to attend; you don't have to go to all of them.  If you can take a 20-minute nap during the day, then do so.   If you are having problems getting a good night's sleep, try natural sleeping aids like Melatonin or Lavender essential oils.  There are also many teas, such as chamomile that can be very helpful in helping you relax and sleep.  During the flu season, the goal should be to increase your sleep time, even during a busy holiday season. 

Hydrate - during the winter 
months we have a tendency to drink less water. Even though the hot weather is gone, we still need just as much if not more water.  Staying hydrated is key for those in the mid-life age range.  At the mid-life stage, the tendency to get hydrated is greater, therefore making it a priority to drink plenty of water during flu season is important.   Staying hydrated can ward off feeling overtired, and can also help to eliminate unwanted toxins in the body.  Add lemon and lime to your water to help with additional vitamin C as well as a gentle detox for your liver. 

Wash Your Hands - seems like an obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don't wash their hands during the course of the day.  You should wash your hands after being out in public, after meals, after going to the bathroom, after going to the Doctors office or visiting someone at the hospital.  You can also use hand sanitizers but they should be at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective.  Remember that sanitized wipes are not the replacement for hand washing.  Washing your hands is the best way to get rid of germs.   When washing your hands using warm water first, then add the soap, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds then rinse and dry.  Emphasis on the 20 seconds.  We tend to hurry through washing our hands, but take the time to scrub well before you turn off the water. 

Clean Your Home - our homes are full of germs that we can't see.  Some of the hot spots where germs flourish are kitchen sponges, dishcloths, cutting boards, home desks, floors, sinks, and toilets. Clean and disinfect these hot spots on a regular basis.   When someone in your home has the flu wash their clothes, bedsheets, and towels.  Also, wash your hands after handling their dirty clothes. 

Fortify Your Immune System -  now is the time to practice healthy habits to fortify your immune system.   Make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep, eat fresh foods ie fruits, vegetables, exercise regularly and manage your stress!!   Whenever possible add fresh garlic to your food, add blueberries to your smoothies, drink green tea (Matcha powder is wonderful) and of course, increase your Vitamin C by eating oranges and other fruits (orange juice is usually high in sugar) 

Keep Your Hands Off Of Your Face - it is a challenge, but it is a good idea to keep your hands from your eyes, nose, and mouth.  Flu germs can live for 2 to 8 hours on surfaces according to the Center for Disease Control.  It is easy to get the virus from desks, computers, doorknobs, handles, steering wheels, etc, therefore, keep your hands away from your face until you get a chance to wash them or sterilize them with a wipe. 

Regular Exercise - there is nothing that replaces the benefit of a good exercise regime.  Exercise is key when it comes to staying healthy.  Exercise flushes the bacteria out through the lungs and airways. Regular exercise is a great way to boost your immune system and helps you to stay healthy during the flu season.   

Take an Immune Booster - The following foods are good for boosting the immune system and in some cases acts as an antibiotic:   Citrus fruits, Garlic, Spinach, Yogurt, Almonds, Broccoli, Ginger, Tumeric, Papaya, Sunflower Seeds Green tea, Poultry, Shellfish, Red Bell Peppers and Kiwi.  All of these foods should be incorporated into your diet during the flu season and even after the flu season.

Gut Health - is an important part of your overall health and well being. Your guts health controls the overall working of your immune system as well as other key functions of your body.  To achieve gut health you need to eat plenty of prebiotics ( lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats, bananas, asparagus, garlic, leeks onions and nuts), get plenty of exercise, reduce your stress, low alcohol intake, get enough sleep, be careful of using to many antibiotics, and eat a diverse range of food.  

Limit Contact With Those Who are Ill - there are a few non-negotiables when it comes to being sick.  If someone in your family or a friend is sick, they must stay at home.  They don't need to spread their germs.  If possible limit direct contact with the sick person. The sick person is usually contagious up to one week after they get sick. Also, change the sleeping arrangements.  As much as you may love your partner, it's a good idea to sleep in another room while they are sick.  It just makes good sense to not risk infection.  Always wash everything the sick person comes in contact with.  Wash their clothes, washcloths, towels, dishes, toys utensils, and bedsheets. 

Increase Your Vitamin D - recent studies have found that Vitamin D can go a long way in helping reduce upper respiratory infections.  Just a bit of sunlight during the day can go a long way to helping prevent respiratory infections that sometimes come with colds.  Eating foods high in Vitamin D or a Vitamin D supplement is also helpful.  

Seriously Consider Vaccination - getting vaccinated is a personal choice and one you should consider with your medical practitioner. Many health experts say that getting a flu vaccination, especially if you are an older adult, is the most important thing you can do to prevent the flu.  Standard flu shot, intradermal flu shot, high dose flu shot are all possibilities you will want to consider. 

Reduce You Sugar and Alchohol Content - this is a tough one especially during the holidays.  When you think about the alternative, eating lots of sugar and getting really sick later, it is easier to make healthier choices.  Sugar is toxic.  It drains our bodies of the necessary nutrients that are needed, especially when you are sick. Alcohol breaks down to sugar, hence the same warning results apply as when you eat sugar.  

 Drink Bone Broth - the combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids help to strengthen your immune system.  It is great to drink bone broth during the flu season even if you aren't sick.  If you do get the flu, bone broth is not a cure but does help with some of the symptoms.   Here is a great recipe for bone broth or if you want to buy some already made this bone broth is very good.

Reduce Your Stress - stress drains us of much-needed nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.  Stress also compromises our immune system.  Taking the time to rest, meditate, get quiet, relax, and removing the stressors that you can, go a long way in helping you to stay healthy. 


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