Wash Your Hands Often
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the, “Simple activity of frequent handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention and is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.” Washing your hands frequently and correctly can help ward off everything from the basic common cold to the flu to other potentially harmful diseases this winter.
Avoid Antibacterial Products
While it’s true that antibacterial products are popular, they often do exactly the opposite of what you’d expect, allowing germs to grow and become immune to any sort of treatment. The soap companies have people well fooled, making folks think they can’t be clean without antibacterial products. However, many studies and major health organizations agree that the use of antibacterial products, such as hand gel and dish soaps, actually help breed healthier, stronger germs, not fight them. This makes sense from a scientific viewpoint. If you give a germ a heaping dose of antibacterial soap, over and over, the germ will fight to survive, eventually building up immunity (known as resistance) to the antibacterial product. Both the CDC and World Health Organization advise against antibacterial soap products in the home. The best soaps and cleaners to use are simple natural and organic soaps and homemade green cleaners.
Clean Your House Regularly
It’s important to practice regular house cleaning. However, a healthy home starts by avoiding toxic home cleaning supplies, chemical fragrances in conventional air fresheners, and chemical fibers in your home furniture, textiles and floors. Your overall goal is to keep your air clean and free of any chemicals. Still, a clean house offers more freedom from illness than you might think. Mold and lead, for example, are two big bads all the time, but can make you sicker during cold and flu season because they may exasperate illness symptoms. Be sure to dust and wipe down surfaces regularly to keep lead and mold levels under control. Surface cleaning has other benefits too. Most winter illnesses are passed via the spread of germs. Using hot water and soap or a natural cleaner to wipe down surfaces frequently can help prevent illness from spreading, especially if you wipe down commonly touched areas like keyboards, door handles, television remotes, light switches, toilets and handrails.
Toss stuffed animals and bedding, along with other textiles in the washing machine often. Entryway floors harbor many germs, due to high traffic, but using a basic non-chemical steam cleaner can help. Other tasks should include rinsing sippy cups and pacifiers after use with hot water, and cleaning our air vents with a HEPA filter vacuum to remove allergens and germs. Organic tea tree essential oil, which naturally disinfects and has natural anti-fungal and antiviral properties, can be used to make a great homemade non-toxic disinfectant. Mix 3-5 drops of natural soap, 2 cups water, and 15-30 drops of tea tree essential oil. You can spray this on any home surface then wipe it down to keep it clean, including cutting boards (rinse after), counters, toilets and walls.
Many foods are known to boost immunity, but eating immunity boosting foods isn’t nearly as important as simply following a basic healthy eating regimen. Christine Gerbstadt, registered dietitian, physician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, notes:
“Some products on store shelves may claim immunity-boosting benefits, but there’s no food that will magically protect you from catching the flu. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet offers the best protection against illness and help you get better faster.“
To gain major health benefits from your meals during flu season eat a variety of organic foods from various food groups and go fresh vs. canned or processed when you can. Avoid too many sweets and junk food. Additionally, the American Dietetic Association points out that food safety is very important and can keep your immunity high and significantly reduce your risk of illness.
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