I’m not a germaphobe, but I do find this time of year particularly icky. There’s that chill in the air, leafless trees look depressing and some annoying person always seems to be sniffling behind me in the grocery line. Flu season is here my friends, and with it lots of disgusting consequences. I’m fond of boasting about how I avoid getting sick, but truthfully, I usually catch something once a year. The flu, however, is but a distant memory. Here are a few ways I’ll avoid getting sick and the flu this season.
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Watch the hand
I recently discovered one of my girlfriends doesn’t wash her hands with soap. Even after doing you know what. If she doesn’t, then I’m pretty sure her kids don’t either. Gross, right? To be super healthy, we’re supposed to lather with soap for 20 seconds. Sing Happy Birthday twice and you’re covered. I wash my hands pretty much every time I return home, before eating and always, always after using the toilet. Duh.
Another handy tip is not touching your face. Especially if you’re in a hospital, doctor’s office or school. A nurse gave me this preventative little tidbit. Anytime I’m in a public space, I avoid touching my nose, rub my eyes, or pick at my chapped lips. You don’t want germs from your hand going into any body orifice.
Tips to build immunity
To stay healthy, I try to avoid sugar. I swear my immunity gets compromised after indulging in sugary sweets. When I cut back, I feel I’m better able to fend off viruses. In the winter months, many of us need more sleep. When you’re conked out, your immune system uses that time to repair and to remember key features of invading germs so it can attack them in the future. (Feeling quite smug I researched both of these and my initial hypothesis was correct!)
I’m a huge fan of maxing out the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C during this time of year – not just when I get sick. Research actually supports this. I didn’t make it up. My favourite supplement, however, is astragalus. This Chinese root can be found at any Shoppers Drug Mart or health food store. It’s one of the world’s best immunity boosters and often used in Chinese medicine to treat colds, influenza and respiratory infections.
Since taking it four years ago, I’ve gone down from four to one cold a year AND I haven’t gotten the flu. Dr. Weil – the Harvard MD (and former Oprah guest) recommends taking it preventively during flu season. I try to make all my travel friends take it, too.
Can you sweat out a cold or flu?
The research says you can’t sweat it out either. Still, tons of people go into the steam room when they’re sick. Because of that, I avoid it like the plague. I am into sweating majorly though, so I amp up my hot yoga practice every fall. Yoga instructors love saying how certain poses build up your immune system. That’s too hokey for me to believe, but I don’t dispute the placebo effect. And if you exercise regularly, I reckon your health and eating habits will improve, too.
Don’t be an idiot, get vaccinated
Flu season runs from November to April. That means right now is the best time to get vaccinated so you don’t get sick. Protection lasts roughly six months, but the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect. Getting the shot truly is the #1 thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting the flu.
Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies across Canada make this a cinch by offering flu immunizations at all hours, without an appointment. You just walk-in and get the vaccine from an injection-certified pharmacist, like my man Patel. You may recall Pharma-god Patel from this post, when he enlightened me that my insurance company covered the cost of all my travel vaccines. I get loads of free travel and health advice from him. And this influenza shot? It’s free, too!
Perk for you!
Shoppers Drug Mart is giving me an awesome cold and flu prize packs (valued at $160!) to giveaway to readers. Want to win? Simply share on social how you avoid the flu. I’m also partial to hearing about flu myths and proper cold etiquette. Be sure to tag me on Twitter (@Jody_Robbins) or Instagram (@TravelswBaggage) and including the #ShoppersFlu hashtag. Please comment before midnight November 30 2017.
This post is sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Travels with Baggage. One more thing. It should be fairly obvious I’m not a healthcare practitioner. Before you start popping astragalus or put your back out in hot yoga, run my health tips by your doctor first.