Talk of the H1N1 (aka “Swine Flu”) has been all over the news outlets, and we are all preparing for its potential onslaught as the warm summer days battle it out with the cooler autumn nights. But was does “preparing” mean!?!
First off, what is the difference between the common cold and the H1N1 flu?
Secondly, what can we do to either prevent the flu altogether or at least decrease its nasty effects?
Proper hand-washing technique is key! The following are the proper steps to follow when washing your hands.
- Wet your hands and wrists.
- Work the soap into a lather.
- Vigorously rub all surfaces of your hands for at least 15 seconds (tip: sing “Happy Birthday!”) because friction helps to remove both dirt and microorganisms. Don’t forget to wash around and under any of your rings, around the cuticles and under your fingernails.
- Thoroughly rinse your hands under a stream of water because running water carries away dirt and debris. Remember to always points your fingers downwards so that the water and contamination won’t drip towards your elbows!
- Completely dry your hands with a clean, dry paper towel.
At Home: Always wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Away From Home: Always consider the sink (including the faucets) contaminated, so avoid touching them with your bare hands − use a paper towel to turn on and turn off the water instead. If hand-washing facilities are not available, use an appropriate alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) anti-septic hand sanitizer or anti-septic towelettes, and then re-wash your hands with soap and running water as soon as possible afterwards.
Coughing & Sneezing Etiquette
Always try to remember to cough and/or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw out the tissue. If you do not have a tissue, cough and/or sneeze into the crook of your arm. This way, you can minimize the risk of transferring your germs to another person via shaking their hand, touching a doorknob, etc. before getting a chance to thoroughly wash your hands.
If you wake up feeling terrible − knowing deep down that you’ve probably caught a flu bug − call the office and let them know that you can’t make it to work and need to use a sick day. This will decrease the chances of spreading your potential flu to your colleagues and gives you a chance to recover.
You should always get approximately 8 hours of sleep every night, although everyone’s sleep requirements vary − usually somewhere between 6 to 10 hours. Sleep is extremely important in maintaining a healthy immune system, which will help fight off any flu bugs that may come your way.
Fruits & Vegetables
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to get lots of good vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many other “goodies”. A good rule of thumb is to eat a whole rainbow of colours, with lots of variety throughout the week.
Stress will always work against your immune system. Think of it this way − if your body is constantly fighting the effects of stress, it won’t have any time or the resources to help your immune system fight off a flu bug!
If you’d like to schedule an appointment with me to work on optimizing your immune system, CONTACT ME HERE to set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting to get started.
What’s a discovery call/meeting? It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.
Here are a few more posts on improving your immune system that you might be interested in:
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