Alaska Sleep Education Center

Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Posted by Linda Gimmeson on Oct 27, 2020 5:41:00 AM

Woman wear mask with eye frown-1

Cold and flu season is rapidly approaching, and soon enough it will be making headlines as it takes its toll on schools and municipalities. Taking time off work is good, but not when you ache all over and just want to hide under the blankets sleeping the day away. Anyone who's ever had the flu virus knows it's not a battle they wish to involve themselves again. As you prepare for how to stay warm this winter, also be planning for how you're going to stay well. Here are some tips to help you keep the flu bug at bay this fall and winter.

  1. Keep Your Gut in Check

Good gut health benefits your entire body, including your immunological functioning. While people usually associate bacteria as being bad, there are actually good bacteria your body needs for its various systems, and those bacteria reside in your gut.

The bacteria in your gut can become unbalanced, and bad bacteria can take over, causing you to feel bad, and even weakening your immune defenses. Include a supplement in your diet that offers probiotics and probiotics to strengthen your gut health. Try the Gundry MD Bio Complete 3 coupon code to save on a dietary supplement that also includes postbiotics.

  1. Get Plenty of Sleep 

Sleep is restorative and your body requires it for ultimate functioning. When you sleep, you enable every system in your body to repair itself. Your body releases proteins called cytokines and the production of cytokines increases while you're sleeping.

These proteins are necessary to your health, as they help repair your body when it's battling an infection or inflammation. If your body is deprived of sleep, production of cytokines may be decreased. Try getting eight hours of sleep every night, especially during flu season.

  1. Make Sure You're Getting Zinc

Zinc is nature's gift to your immunological system. Zinc can be found in many of the foods you eat, including red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products. Most of your zinc intake should be provided by the food you eat on a daily basis, which is one of many reasons good nutrition is also essential.

If you suspect you're not getting enough zinc, talk to your doctor to see if he or she recommends you also take zinc supplements. Getting plenty of zinc is a good thing, but you don't want to have too much. When in doubt, always ask the doctor.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise doesn't just strengthen your muscles and improve your mood. It also strengthens your immune responses to a certain degree. When you exercise, you are also exercising your lungs. As they pump air in and out, they may also flush foreign germs and bacteria from your airways that has collected in the last 24 hours.

White blood cells, which are an important part of your body's immune defense system, also circulate faster throughout your body when you get your blood pumping. As long as you don't overdo it, there are numerous benefits to exercising. Try getting at lease 20 minutes of cardio exercise each day. This can include something as easy as a daily walk.

  1. Wash Your Hands Often

Washing your hands frequently is proven to help ward off illness. If you're going to be out shopping and don't have access to hand washing, it's easy to keep a tube of anti-bacterial lotion in your back pocket or purse. Use it often, especially after touching door handles and other surfaces people touch with frequency.

  1. Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is good for your body at any time, but you should be particularly cognizant of your fluid intake during flu season. One study showed that staying hydrated may actually boost a person's immune response to viruses and bacteria.

Waters part in fighting off illness may have to do with it flushing toxins from your system. It also helps transport oxygen to your body cells. Depending on the temperature outside and your level of activity, you should drink at least six full glasses of water a day.

  1. Don't Overexert Yourself

Exercise is good, but not when you cause your body to respond to it like trauma. When you overexert yourself and don't allow your body and mind time to heal, then your immunity becomes low.

While it's okay to be physically active, don't push your body to the point that it suffers long after the activity is completed. Your body will require more rest, and during that time, you'll be more susceptible to illness as your system is already busy working to repair the damage from the overexertion.

  1. Avoid Others Who are Sick

During flu season, you should avoid close contact with everyone who resides outside your home since you never know who is sick, and they may not even know themselves. If you do know someone is sick, stay away from them until they are well.

Germs are everywhere, even in your own home. Get in the habit of not touching your face and eyes, as these are the most common entry points for germs. While it may seem like overkill, if you really want to avoid getting sick then wear a mask when you're going to be in large crowds.

  1. Get a Flu Vaccine

The easiest and most successful avenue for avoiding catching the flu is to get vaccinated. The flu virus changes every year, so it's important to get the most up-to-date vaccine, which usually comes out in early fall of every year. While many people are against vaccinations, your risks of becoming seriously ill are much greater without a vaccine than with it.

Even if you do get the vaccine, you should still consider yourself at risk. Continue to practice good hygiene and everything else that has been suggested to stay healthy and well.

  1. Spray Down Surfaces

Whether you're in your work place or at home, viruses can remain on surfaces for hours and sometimes even days if the environment is right. Taking time to wipe down these surfaces can keep you, your co-workers and your family safe during the flu and cold season. Common germ areas include countertops, light switches, door knobs, phones and computers.

There's a lot to remember for staying well during flu season, but all of these habits should become a part of your daily routine no matter what season it is. Being healthy during any time of year is vital to your longevity and quality of life. The sooner you start making your health a daily part of your life, the sooner you'll develop good habits and won't have to work to remember what you need to do to avoid becoming sick.

Can NOT Sleeping Make You Sick?

Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or Woman home sick with the flu.inflammation, or when you're under stress.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep.

So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

But more sleep isn't always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in a poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is ready to help you improve your sleep and your life.  Call us this week to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists.

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Topics: sickness, flu, staying healthy, immunity

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