5 things you can do to ward off the flu
By Brittany Anas
Maybe there’s a lot of sneezing and coughing happening one cubicle over from you? Or you feel your ears starting to pop. A body ache just struck? Or, perhaps your nose is starting to run. We all know the early signs of a cold when it’s trying to commandeer our immune system. So, why not stop it in its germy tracks?
As we’re entering flu and cold season, here’s how you can zap a sickness before it takes you down for the count. (By the way, a person with the flu typically has symptoms that last for five to six days and they miss between 1/2 and five days of work, according to a National Business Group on Health report).
- Eat foods that build your immune system. Amanda Dolan, a counseled dietitian with the health care innovations company Geneia, even recommends that employers stock their lunch rooms with immune-boosting foods this time of year. She suggests noshing on these immunity-boosting foods: Oranges; veggie slices; whole grain fortified cereals; nuts; hardboiled eggs; hummus and vegetables; bean salad; green tea or string cheese.
- Eat yogurt. Yogurt and other probiotic sources help support the gastrointestinal tract, which is your immune system’s second line of defense, Dolan says.
- Keep your skin moisturized. If you have dry or cracked skin, you’re providing an entry point for the flu virus. During the winter weather, it’s a good idea to keep a lotion on your desk or in the office. Look for one that’s made for extra-dry skin — like Lubriderm Advanced Therapy lotion from Staples. It’s not a bad idea to get some Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer and Emergen-C for the office, too. It’s packed with immune-boosting zinc and Vitamin C, as well as B Vitamins that helps keep energy levels up.
- Get to gargling: If you’re starting to feel a scratchy throat, gargle with some water water that has a spoonful of salt mixed in. The simple mixture will help reduce swelling in your throat and clear out mucus.
- Call in sick: Resting up is your body’s best defense to warding off a cold. It’s better to take a sick day early in the cold cycle because you’ll be able to bounce back quicker — and you’ll lessen the chances of getting your co-workers sick. (Colds are the most contagious during the first couple of days).
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