Protect Yourself from Flu

January 17, 2013

Worried about catching the flu? Find out some of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid the flu here

Worried about catching the flu, well one of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid the flu is to be even more vigilant when you’re at your supermarket, café or restaurant.

In the supermarket, take advantage of the sanitary wipes in the cart area. Be sure to wipe handles down before you begin shopping for your groceries, and wipe your hands as well as you head into the produce department.

Also, stay three or more feet away from people who are  coughing or sneezing. This will keep you outside the immediate spray of their germs. Remember to keep your hands away from your face. It's easy to get infected with a cold or flu virus. All you need to do is come in contact with the virus on some surface and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose.

Still, one of the most important elements to staying healthy this season remains focused on hand washing. Be sure to wash your hands with hot, soapy water every time you use the bathroom and before every meal. To be sure you're really washing away the potential viruses and bacteria you've come in contact with, use hot water and really scrub your hands for at least 60 seconds. If you’re in an environment without a sink or you work in a high-germ environment, such as a school, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.

And if you’re not feeling well, coughing or have the flu – give your neighbors and co-workers the same courtesy - get plenty of rest, cover your sneezes and coughs and when possible avoid contact with others.

Here are some more of SupermarketGuru’s top tips:

Have a cold but don’t really have an appetite? Load up on zinc.  Snack on pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds, which are rich in zinc. Our immune cells depend on zinc to function optimally, so including these in our diet will get our cells back on track. Yogurt is also a good source of zinc; but remember to read labels for live active cultures. Oysters are also an incredible source of zinc.

Other “natural immune boosting” foods?
Fruits and vegetables, are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, help strengthen the immune system and increase our resistance to other immune invaders – the darker the fruit and vegetable the more immune boosting and overall health boosting power it has.

Garlic and other allium compounds like onions, leeks, shallots and chives are known to have antibiotic properties due to the chemical allicin, which exerts antibacterial and antifungal effects.

Oregano, also demonstrates antibacterial and antifungal effects. The active ingredients thymol and carvacrol have shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria often associated with skin infections.

Honey and cinnamon. Cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Combine cinnamon and honey for a well-rounded antibiotic effect. Honey (“raw” varieties) has been used for thousands of years to suppress the growth of bacteria and fungus.

As always, check with your pharmacist or health professional for nutrient/medication interactions. Make sure the antibiotics are necessary; antibiotics cure bacterial infections, which means they are useless against viral infections such as colds or flu, most coughs, runny noses and non-strep sore throats.