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Protection Against Flu and Cold

4 Jan

Every year during cold season we feel like there is no other choice than to surrender to the germs. Vaccination is the best way to prevent season flu according to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), but there are other steps we can take to protect ourselves and others from the flu:

  1. Wash your hands. Wet your hands with hot or cold water, apply soap and rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds, rinse them and dry them off completely. The whole process takes about 20 seconds.
  2. Hand sanitizers should be used only if soap and water are not available. Sanitizers are less effective than washing your hands, and should be only used for backup. Use sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  3. Avoid close contact with others if you are sick to protect them from becoming sick too. Stay at home to prevent spreading germs at work, schools, supermarkets, etc.
  4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, sofas, TV remotes, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
  5. Get seven plus hours of sleep. It will give you less chances of getting sick than people who sleep six or fewer hours a night.
  6. Practicing 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity a day may prevent a cold. So get outside and walk briskly or use a stationary bike.
  7. Stress can affect immunity. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Indulge in physical activity, get more sleep, try relaxation techniques such breathing exercises, talk to someone, manage your time.
  8. Eat healthy. The American Dietetic Association says that diets that are plentiful in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and more can provide a wide array of nutrients and antioxidants that can help boost the immune system.
  9. Drink plenty of fluids. A recent study found that staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight the viruses. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water, and by avoiding caffeinated drinks. Strive for six to eight glasses of water per day.   

Is It the Flu or a Cold?

Flu is usually accompanied with fever, headache, severe general aches and pains, feeling of tiredness and weakness that usually last 2 to 3 weeks, extreme exhaustion when first becoming sick, and chest discomfort is common and can become severe. Cold symptoms include slight aches and pains, feeling of tiredness and weakness only happens sometimes, common stuffy nose and sore throat, usual sneezing, and chest discomfort with a mild to moderate hacking cough.

In the United States, flu season is between December and March. It takes at least 2 weeks for the flu vaccination to start working, so try to get your flu shot by the end of October. Don’t worry if you didn’t, get your flu shot before the flu season starts. The shot can help keep you healthy no matter when you receive it.

This is a very easy and healthy soup recipe for cold days, and if you get sick it might help you to feel better.

Three Sisters Soup

Per Serving: Calories 145, Protein 9g, Fiber 10g, Cost Per Serving, $1.80. Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 16 oz. canned, low-sodium yellow corn or hominy, drained, rinsed
  • 16 oz. canned, low-sodium kidney beans (drained, rinsed)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 15 oz. canned, cooked pumpkin (Tip: Be careful, don’t get pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 5 fresh sage leaves

OR

  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder

Directions:

  1. Bring chicken stock to a slow boil.
  2. Add corn/hominy, beans, onion and celery. Boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Add sage leaves, curry and pumpkin and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

Sources: National Institute of Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/all-about-flu-and-how-prevent-it

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm

American Heart Association Recipe: https://recipes.heart.org/en/recipes/three-sisters-soup

Soup Photo by Dreamer in Ontario

Handwashing picture pixaby.com