The following is a guest post by blogger, Julia Guarino.
I know that for me – and I don’t think I’m alone – when I hear or read “H1N1”, I experience an emotional mix of exasperation and fear. I am pretty tired of hearing about the threat, but as a 20-something with asthma, I am classified as “high-risk”, and a raw egg allergy prevents me from receiving a flu shot (about which there are varying opinions). Whether or not the virus poses a threat to me, I have come to the conclusion that I should seek out other methods of prevention; the natural way of course. Here are some tips I came across in my research.
1. Wash your hands, of course! The first tip I came across everywhere; flu season basics. (But it’s best to avoid antibacterial soap!). This tip also goes along with other general flu-season hygiene; keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose, and avoid others who are sick. Stay home if you have a fever or don’t feel well! (I know it’s hard, but think of your co-workers).
2. Take care of yourself; sleep, and eat well. Avoid sugar and alcohol, sometimes a difficult feat at this time of year, but it’s worth it! Kurt Williamson, virologist and Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of William & Mary, says that keeping your immune system strong is the best way to keep the flu at bay.
3. Get fresh air, and keep your home and office ventilated; air flow is good for keeping bacteria from lingering.
4. Take your vitamins. Vitamin D helps boost your immune function. Williamson says that the best source of Vitamin D is sunshine! Since it is hard to get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D from diet alone, make sure to get outside whenever you can.
5. Supplement your diet. Zinc, elderberry, and Echinacea have also been shown to have some anti-viral properties.
6. WebMD recommends a sauna. Research has shown some correlation between saunas and lower rates of cold and flu infection; plus they feel good!