It’s that time of year again… time to get your flu shot! Don’t let the warm weather fool you, fall is prime-time for colds and flu! Here are some easy steps, on top of getting a flu shot, to help you ward off getting sick this season.
1. Try Vitamin C
Whether it’s a large glass of OJ or a dietary supplement, higher intakes of vitamin C can help you reduce the risk of catching a cold. Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate both the production and function of white blood cells that help protect your body from infection. There is no scientific evidence that large amounts up to 10 g per day in adults have any adverse effects.
2. Pop Zinc
Feel like you are getting sick? Popping zinc within 24-hours of the start of symptoms helps shorten your sniffle according to a recent authoritative Cochrane review. Doses of 75 mg (equivalent to three to four lozenges) per day taken as long as your cold lasts may keep cold viruses from multiplying and taking residence in your nose and throat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends lozenges as some individuals have reported losing their sense of smell after using nasal swabs or sprays.
Don’t pop zinc lozenges like candy. While 75 mg of zinc can be safely consumed for a few days, you shouldn’t exceed 40 mg per day chronically. There is no scientific evidence that zinc can prevent a cold or the flu before it starts.
3. Sip Chicken Noodle Soup
It’s not just an age-old folk remedy. Researchers at the University of Nebraska found that chicken soup may ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., sinus infections). Chicken soup not only appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, but its high salt content inhibits growth of many bacteria causing common infections.
4. Get some R&R
You really do need extra sleep when you’re not feeling well because of the cold or flu. That’s especially true if you’re running a low-grade fever, which can happen with colds. Sleep helps your body fight the infection that’s causing you to feel ill. Sleep may actually be the best prevention for colds and flu. Sleep deprivation adversely effects immune function and the National Sleep Foundation warns that sleep loss can increase your vulnerability to infectious disease.