Hello, my friends! I think I am FINALLY starting to feel more like a human and less like a zombie!! It’s been a rough week. In case you didn’t know, I ended up smacked with an upper respiratory infection that morphed into strep throat. Thank goodness for antibiotics! My lymph nodes are FINALLY going back to normal size and I don’t feel so much like I’m swallowing nails any more. These are good things!
Now, I’m not certain I could have actually avoided the strep diagnosis as it’s bacterial but it is possible, I think. I am fairly certain I could have avoided the initial upper respiratory ick (probably viral) and because I didn’t, it just progressed and I ended up a zombie for five days.
So, you’re out and about, living your life, going to work, and people all around you are a-coughing and a-sneezing and just generally being unhealthy. How, when you’re surrounded by all that, can you stay on the healthy side of the fence, let alone survive cold and flu season? Well, there are a few ways that you can benefit yourself and make yourself a little less susceptible to whatever may be going around in your area. (Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and these are only tips – not medical advice – that have worked for me in helping to prevent a cold. They may or may not work for you. Only YOU know how your body behaves during illness. If you are experiencing fever, chills, body aches, etc, please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.)
1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
I cannot even stress this enough. Your body will give you cues that your immune system is fighting hard against something and you should definitely pay attention to them. I ignored those cues. Don’t be like me. I had been sniffly for a few days but didn’t feel bad. And then Monday’s workout kicked my butt. Pretty badly, actually. I mean, it was a tough workout but still… I woke up Tuesday and didn’t feel terrific. I was tired. And sore. And generally meh. Did I pick up on those signals my body was throwing down, though? Nope. I still went and worked out. And that was the beginning of the end. Shoulda skipped it. By Tuesday evening, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. And I KNEW better! Pay attention to your body’s cues. Skipping a workout, or two, is NOT going to hurt you. Why weaken an already exhausted immune system? It’s just not worth it.
2. REST, REST, REST
And by rest, I mean SLOW DOWN! Take it easy! SLEEP!!! I personally struggle with this. I generally like to be “go, go, GO!” all the time so slowing down and taking it easy can be difficult. I actually have to force myself sometimes but in the face of a cold, it’s worth it. Take a relaxing bath. Try to get some extra sleep. Go to bed earlier. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, close your eyes and give your body (and brain) the break it needs.
3. STAY HYDRATED
You already know you’re supposed to drink plenty of water – the amounts of water generally fluctuate and are based on gender, your health, and where you live. General guidelines indicate eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day but, you’ll definitely need more if you are an athlete and/or live in a very hot climate zone. Or are sick. Did you know your body loses additional fluids when you have a fever? The point is, the better hydrated you are, the more water your body has to flush out those toxins from your organs, and carry nutrients to your cells. source
4. EAT REAL FOOD
When you eat real food (and by real, I mean not processed. Or fast food. Yes, I know you’re tired. Don’t go through the drive-thru just cuz it’s convenient and easy.), you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to work hard and fight off illness. Did you know that many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin C, known to assist in boosting your immune system? The top choices, of course, are oranges, orange juice, and red bell peppers. Did you know that broccoli, brussels sprouts, and strawberries are also excellent sources of Vitamin C? Additionally, did you know that foods like spinach and watermelon are high in water and add to your hydration levels? AND, it’s actual proven fact that chicken soup (or broth) has healing properties. So, slurp up that soup, people!! (Looking for some tasty soup recipes? Try this one or this one or this one.) Now, don’t get me wrong – I get it. I’ve wanted to eat some pretty unhealthy food over the past few days. I mean, junk food can be comforting and it’s just. so. easy. But, mostly I’ve avoided it (except for maybe a mug brownie and a little bit of ice cream. hey, I’m human.) because it’s not what my body needs to do its job.
5. WASH YOUR HANDS
I mean, c’mon. It’s so basic, I shouldn’t even have to mention it. But you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. Seriously, do it.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention getting a flu shot. That’s because I personally don’t get the flu shot. Now, I’m not saying that’s the right thing for YOU but it’s definitely the right thing for me. If you are considered HIGH RISK (i.e., have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, or metabolic disorders; you’re pregnant; you are a healthcare professional; you are immunosuppressed; or you are a senior citizen and are more likely to have a weaker immune system), or are required to by your job (looking at you active duty military folk), then you should get the flu shot. The last time I got the flu shot was in 1999 when I was still active duty. That was also, interestingly enough, the last time I had the flu. I was sick for WEEKS!! It was awful. So….now I avoid it and I’ve stayed relatively healthy.
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid getting sick. I mean, you just can’t. Unless you stay at home and live in a bubble. But who wants to do that? So, instead of being a recluse, go out with your friends, be social, have fun! Just make sure you pay attention to your surroundings and your body and follow the above tips. You got this. I believe in you.Friends got the sniffles? Try these tips to successfully survive cold and flu season! Click To Tweet