I love my Pilates class, not just for how I feel, but the relationships I’ve made with people in the class. There is a certain intimacy and trust when you sweat and contort with a small group of people. I also love to share new things, so when I was updating this blog with a cold remedy that I was asked to support, it was only the resounding endorsement of the class that convinced me to promote Cold Eeze. They actually have good data supporting that it shortens the duration of a cold by nearly half, but data can be manipulated. Personal testimony of friends cannot. It’s finally cold and people are getting sick. Here are some tips to keep you healthy!
Dr. Deb’s Tips on how NOT to get Sick!
1. Wash Hands and Nose.
We all know to wash hands but doing it regularly is the problem. Flu virus may live on hard surfaces for 24 -48 hours so we need to keep certain zones in our surroundings free of germs. Think of these zones as an automatics hand wash times, in addition to any other times when you have been exposed to germs.
Entering your car
Entering your house
Sitting at your desk
Before food prep
After the bathroom
If you automatically wash every time you enter the zone, you will greatly decrease your risk of infection. Remember effective hand washing takes about 15 seconds so do what I tell the kids, “Sing your ABCs or Happy Birthday” while you wash up.
Hand sanitizer and wipes are also convenient ways to clean up especially in your car when water is not available. Put one in your car and in your kids back pack so they can always keep clean.
Just as important it is to wash your nasal passages. This will greatly reduce the risk of sinus infections as it washes the allergens before your body causes an inflammation response. 5 squirts of normal saline in the morning, night and after exercising outdoors is a great prevention strategy. A nettie pot is a power wash if you have a lot of congestion but recently there were infections with tap water. You may want to use distilled or boil the water and cool before using.
2. Don’t Touch your Face
Many infections are transmitted through hand to face contact through the mouth, eyes and nose. A study in 2009 videotaped people and observed that they touched their face an average of 16 times an hour. Every time you touch your face you are allowing bacteria to enter your body. You may also be spreading virus as the nose has the second highest concentration of bacteria on the body surface. (bet you can guess the first and it’s not the mouth!)
3. Clean Common Germ Collectors
I am forever telling the kids, “Don’t put your shoes on my food prep area!” They love to plop down book bags and shoes on the counter where I make dinner. Wipe down daily Keyboard, phones, remotes, door handles, microwave ovens handles, pens and put toothbrushes in the dishwasher if you are sick or replace them. Avoid teller machines, vending machines, escalators handrails and elevator buttons and wash after you do.
Desks have 400 times more germs than toilet seat so it is important to keep it a clean zone where you work. Don’t forget to clean the toilet handle. My kids recently proved that the urinal handle had more germs that the wrestling mats and vending machine button in their science fair experiment.
4. Cold Eeze
A study from the Cleveland clinic showed taking Cold Eeze at the first sign of a cold reduced the duration of the cold by nearly half. It must be taken at the first sign of a cold as it is theorized that the zinc gluconate binds to the cold virus receptor blocking them from replicating, Cold Eeze comes in lozenges and now a new oral spray that is convenient. Just two sprays and you are good to go!
5. Start Spring Allergy Prevention Now
Our unseasonably warm winter may result in an earlier spring allergy season. My daffodils are already 5 inches high! In addition to flushing with normal saline, if you get recurring allergies every year, you may want to think about starting prevention medications earlier than usual. Nasal steroid medications such as Flonase are most effective when taken at least 2 weeks before the allergy exposure. A late freeze would stop early allergies. You can track pollen counts in your area and receive alerts at pollen.com.
Probiotics are various forms of “good bacteria” that can be taken as a pill or liquid supplement. They really help with gastrointestinal infections, like diarrhea but a recent study in Pediatrics showed that children given daily probiotic supplements had reduced colds, fever, cough and need for antibiotics.
A recent study showed that exercising 5 times a week decreased risk of infection by almost 50% and regular exercisers that did catch a cold had a shorter duration and decreased severity.
8. Listen to Mom: Sleep and fluids
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms you need more sleep.
After exposing healthy volunteers to a cold virus, researchers found that those who slept fewer than seven hours a night were about three times as likely to become ill as those who, on average who slept at least eight hours.
Fluids and good nutrition are also critical to prevent and shorten cold duration.
9. Flu vaccine
The flu vaccine is the surest way to prevent the flu. It is very safe and the most certain way to avoid influenza. It is not to late to get a flu shot this year.
Prevention really is worth a pound of cure so eat right, exercise and listen to your friends.