Avoiding the Flu? Tips on What NOT to Do
Colds and flues run amok this time of year, as we all huddle together to escape the cold, breathing heated, recycled air and trip up our immune systems by running between extreme cold and extreme heat here and there throughout the course of a day. While you can read countless articles advising you on the best remedies to deal with colds and flues, here are some tips on what not to do. Avoiding these pitfalls this season will help you have a healthier and more comfortable time overall.
- Do NOT go to work or school if you are sick. Understandably, there are exceptions during emergencies and under inflexible deadlines, etc. However, heading to work or school while ill will expose your weakened immune system to taking on even more viruses and bacterial diseases. Plus, you risk spreading your illness to others while the stress you will likely experience at work or school may weaken your immune system even further, which could prolong your recovery time. Staying home and resting is best for a rapid and successful recovery.
- Do NOT starve your cold or flu. Ensuring that you are taking in enough nutrients during your illness will help fuel your all systems in your body, including your immune system. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and even add supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and a host of herbal supplements. Reducing the nutrients you ingest will cause your body to go into a further weakened state and cause a stress response that will leave your body susceptible to more complications.
- Do NOT stress your body. While daily exercise is usually a good thing, allowing your body an opportunity to use its strength to healing your systems is a better use of your energy when it is weaker than usual. Within a short time, you will likely regain your strength and be back to your vibrant, strong self. Until then, relax, rest and give your body a chance to heal before you assign it more work to do.
- Do NOT succumb to insomnia. While it may be uncomfortable and even difficult to sleep when you have a cold or flu, sleep is critical to help your body heal and regain its strength. Sleeping more than normal (6-8 hours) is recommended while you are fighting an illness, but sleeping fewer hours can be problematic. If needed, turn down your thermostat so that your room is cool, practice good sleep hygiene techniques such as removing electronics from your room and making sure your room is dark, quiet and used for nothing other than sleep and sex. Take a shower or bath before bed to help open breathing passages and to lower your body temperature as it drops following a hot bath. Use eucalyptus or peppermint drops to help with breathing. Consult a physician if you are truly unable to sleep during an illness.
- Do NOT avoid getting medical attention if needed. Seeking a proper diagnosis and following proper treatment prescribed from a licensed physician can be a life-saving move. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, feel like passing out, have a high fever (e.g. over 101 degrees), feel tightness in your chest, pain in your arms or legs, are experiencing an excruciating headache or a prolonged headache, do seek out medical attention. From pneumonia to meningitis, you want to be certain that what you deem to be a common flu is just that and nothing more serious.