Stay Healthy All Winter

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By: , – Christine Mattheis, Family Circle
12/25/2012 6:00 AM   :  13 comments   :  13,534 Views

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The sniffling. The sneezing. The aching. You know these symptoms all too well: On average, Americans come down with three colds a year. Up to 20% are unlucky enough to get the flu. But with these strategies, you can stay cold- and flu-free. 

 
Sweat It Out

People who exercise for at least 20 minutes five days a week suffer from half as many colds as those who get moving just one or two days a week. Researchers believe that exercise helps raise the number of immune cells in the body.
 
Hands Off

Be conscious of how often you touch your face and try to stop doing it, says Yael Halaas, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist based in New York City. Flu germs enter the body through the nose, mouth and eyes, so even a quick three-second eye rub could lead to a week of sniffling and coughing.
 
Sweeten Down

A diet low in refined sugar strengthens the immune system and can potentially protect the body against cold and flu, says Alan Gaby, M.D., who specializes in nutritional medicine. "Although there's no research that clearly proves sugar causes more illness, some doctors have observed that people who reduce sugar consumption have fewer infections and are generally healthier overall," he says.
 
Rest Up

Skimp on slumber and you're three times more likely to catch a cold, according to a Carnegie Mellon University study. Aim for at least seven hours a night.
 
Clean Sweep

If you're traveling by plane, train or bus for the holidays, pack some antiseptic wipes in your carry-on. "Clean your seat and armrests before you settle in," suggests Halaas.
 
Wash Away

The single most important preventive measure you can take is to wash your hands, and often. But don't lather up with hot water. A lukewarm rinse works just as well for killing bacteria. In fact, an uncomfortably warm wash dries the skin, which could cause it to crack, leaving you susceptible to other infections.
 
Click here for more tips to keep you healthy all winter long from Family Circle.

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Comments

  • 13
    This year has been worse than normal for our family. Since September, we have had an unknown Lyme-like Disease (hubby), H1N1 (all of us), Stomach virus (all of us) and now I have something causing blisters and sores on my right arm, looks alot like poison ivy. The push for better health hasn't helped us. I don't know if it is because we moved to a new house a year ago and we are just getting to meet all the new viruses in town! LOL - 3/25/2014   4:52:41 AM
  • 12
    Didn't get a cold or flu for 3 years but now I have one 2nd day feeling bad. - 12/30/2012   7:37:25 AM
  • DEBBIERODGERS
    11
    I'm surprised fish oil isn't on this basic list. - 12/28/2012   10:15:42 AM
  • 10
    Got a flu shot this year per doctors' recommendation, but have been lucky past few years just got a couple of bad colds. - 12/26/2012   7:45:17 PM
  • MARILYNBSL
    9
    I have not had problem with cold and flu but always have sinus issues from allergies. Washing hands have not seemed to help a lot. - 12/26/2012   6:19:46 PM
  • 8
    I am trying to boost my immune system with vitamin C,fruits,vegetables,etc. to clear up colds and flu. I take a flu shot to help avoid a full blown version. - 12/26/2012   5:04:31 PM
  • 7
    I do the normal saline nasal washes and gargle with salt water. I haven't had a cold take hold in years, and I teach about 250 children a week, and half of those are preschoolers ( also known as germ factories).
    This works for me, and the nasal washes and gargling is also a great relief for allergies!
    Dianne - 12/26/2012   3:03:34 PM
  • NLYR20
    6
    Immunity is onething to build on... I always use lemon & honey with hot water to help me keep away from cold. I do take them 3 or 4 times a day, if I catch cold. - 12/26/2012   1:52:30 PM
  • 2DIETORNOT2DIET
    5
    I retired in Jan. of 09 since I'm no longer working with the public I have only one cold in the last four years. People would come get their hair done and you were so close to them it was very hard not to get sick, I wish they would not come in when they are that sick but they do. - 12/26/2012   11:10:53 AM
  • 4
    I like to try to stay active and take my vitamins. My mom still nags me about it (you would think I was still a KID). I find getting my flu shot helped me to avoid flu (hopefully). - 12/26/2012   12:01:32 AM
  • 3
    It was 69 degrees here in Pensacola, Florida today, but I was still dealing with a cold. Cold weather doesn't bring Flu or Colds. - 12/25/2012   10:34:08 PM
  • 2
    I've found that a healthy diet really does help boost a person's immune system. So, during the winter, I do try to eat as healthfully as possible. And I drink a lot of tea. - 12/25/2012   9:41:08 AM
  • 1
    Don't think 75F is winter, there is no "winter" weather where I live - 12/25/2012   8:52:53 AM

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