Stay healthy this cold and flu season

By Briana Hayes
Staff Writer

Everywhere you look, you see people with tissues in their hands.You hear the incessant sniffling of someone who is sick. With the changing of the seasons comes the inevitable, yet dreaded, cold and flu season.

The most well-known ways to prevent getting sick or passing along the germs include washing your hands, practicing good health habits, and covering up your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

Germs can spread within a time period of four hours in a classroom or office. Getting sick is not difficult to do but there are ways to diminish the chances you do.

First off, make sure you are receiving adequate sleep. When an individual is sleep-deprived, they do not receive enough REM sleep. During this particular sleep stage, the body allows itself to recover. Without enough of this crucial rest period your body does not have the ability to restore itself to full strength.

Sicknesses spread by contact and usually enter through the nose and mouth. By drinking tea—any kind will do—with lemon and honey, the hair follicles in the nose will be stimulated. These follicles, also known as cilia, will be able to move germs out of the nose more efficiently. Lemon will thin mucus and honey is an anti-bacterial.

The immune system is the part of the body that acts as the defense system against germs. In order to maintain a healthy immune system, a diet adequate in protein is beneficial. This can be achieved through consumption of foods such as fish, eggs, and yogurt.

Another change you can make to your diet is the addition of zinc. While some studies show that zinc does not have any cold-fighting benefits, it has been proven to be effective within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.

As the weather is getting colder, it is becoming perfect running weather. Instead of going to the gym during flu season, try to go running or biking outside for your cardio. This will limit the contact you have with equipment that various people utilized every day.

Cold viruses have the tendency to thrive in dry conditions, which is why as it becomes colder and dryer, flu season occurs. A humidifier can add moisture to your dorm or apartment and is a good preventative measure.

In order to fight dry conditions, it is also good to invest in saline nasal spray. This will prevent your nose from getting dry. This also flushes out viruses and helps clear secretions. It is possible to make your own saline spray using 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda with the addition of cooled boiled water.

While these preventative measures are not guaranteed, they are beneficial to know besides the basic hand-washing and hand-sanitizing techniques. Getting your flu shot can also help prevent the flu during cold season.