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Simple Steps to Avoid the Flu
We've all been there: seated next to a sneezing, coughing person with no escape route available, worried that the next day we'll be the one hacking. But the truth is, catching an illness can't always be blamed on the obvious offenders.
Though you can pick up germs just about anywhere (disturbingly, viruses can linger on surfaces such as ATMs and checkout-aisle pens for 48 hours), actually coming down with a cold or flu is a complex process -- one that you can outsmart by following these stay-healthy tips.
Wash Your Hands
"The number one thing you can do to protect yourself from a cold or flu is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently," said a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Lather up with running water and soap and scrub your palms, between your fingers, and the backs of your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. If no soap is available, you can use hand sanitizer that's at least 60 percent alcohol, according to the CDC.
Moisturize Your Air
It turns out that very humid air might be toxic to flu viruses. Scientists aren't quite sure why, but one possibility is that droplets that contain the virus shrink quickly in arid environments, allowing them to float around longer; in moist air those same droplets might remain heavy and fall to the floor faster. Invest in a humidifier that keeps the humidity level between 40 and 60 percent.
Skip the Second Drink
Alcohol can impair your white blood cells' ability to combat viruses for up to 24 hours after you overindulge. Keep your drinking to a reasonable one drink per day during cold and flu season.
Don’t put Your Faith in Vitamin C
Yes, you read that right: Though it's been touted as a cold fighter for decades, vitamin C has never been proven to fend off a cold or flu.
People who routinely get fewer than seven hours of shut-eye a night triple their risk of developing a cold compared with those who doze for eight or more hours, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine. When sleep-deprived, your body may produce too many cytokines, the proteins that trigger cold symptoms when you're sick.
Eat Your Vegetables
Immune-boosting antioxidants in brightly colored fruits and veggies battle the free radicals that dampen your natural defenses. Eat plenty of fare such as red beans and berries, and keep in mind that the brighter the hue, the higher the antioxidant count.
Posted by: Michelle Germann
Created on: Tue 10 April 2012 23:13
Last modified: Thu 18 October 2012 08:35
This article was posted in Flu Symptoms