Whether you are a generally healthy individual or are prone to infection, incorporating these immune-supportive practices into your daily routine will contribute to the overall well-being of you, your family and those around you.
In addition, having treatment options on-hand in case an illness develops can help to decrease the severity and duration of infection – so be prepared and have fun!
Always consult a qualified health care professional prior to initiating any new treatment, including those listed above, to ensure it will be safe and effective for you.
MY PREVENTION TIPS
Hygiene: The simplest, best known, and most effective way to prevent transmission of colds and flu is thorough and frequent hand washing. Another way to minimize the spread of germs is to cough/sneeze into your elbow, as opposed to your hands.
Hydration: Your mucous membranes, such as your mouth and nasal passages, comprise your immune system’s first line of defence when it comes to preventing illness. In order for these areas to function optimally and protect you from infection, they need to be well lubricated.
Diet: Eat the rainbow! Consuming a well-balanced diet, high in colourful fruit and vegetables will provide your body with the nutrients (think vitamin C) necessary to support your immune system.
(Photo via nociveglia)
Sleep/Stress: Inadequate sleep and stress negatively affect immune function, increasing risk of infection and recovery time – so be sure to get enough rest and relaxation.
Probiotics: Among other immune benefits, probiotics can help to reduce cough incidence and duration. Foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, soy milk, miso soup, milk and delicious dark chocolate!
Vitamin D: Low vitamin D status is linked to increased risk of bacterial and viral infections – at this time of year supplementation is essential. Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, milk, pork, mushrooms, and decadent ricotta cheese.
Honey: If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of becoming ill a spoon full of sugar can help! If you (or your child over 1 year of age) is suffering from a cough, honey is a good option. In fact, the 2011 article by the Canadian Pediatric Society found that “…honey before sleep improved cough frequency and severity, as well as sleep quality. How can a better sleep not be good for you?
Dr. Sarah Schmocker is the mother of two wonderful boys and a naturopathic doctor practicing in the Beach community of Toronto. @Dr_Sarah_ND
(Main image: nociveglia)