As the summer is coming to an end, we look forward to cooler temperatures, pumpkin picking, fall foliage, and drinking apple cider. One thing everyone is not looking forward to is the illnesses that come with fall and winter, and that of course includes the flu. With the shorter days, and more seasonal gatherings and commitments, it can sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time for ourselves. During this transition, it is important to prepare yourself and your family well so you can stay healthy and energetic. Here are some simple ways to maintain wellness during the fall and winter season.
Get a flu shot. According to the CDC, it is our best defense against getting the flu. The best time to get the flu vaccine is soon after it becomes available in the fall.
Wash your hands – a lot. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you must scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to time yourself is to sing the ABC’s one time through.
Reduce your stress. Stress is known to suppress our immune systems. Try taking up yoga or meditation.
Get plenty of exercise. Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation and can also help to relieve stress. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel through your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Your body relies on sleep to recuperate from daily exposure to toxins. When you become sleep deprived, it can reduce the immune system’s ability to function properly.
Nourish yourself. Limit processed foods as much as possible and focus on real foods which will help your immune system to function properly. Here is a list of six foods to include in your diet that have flu-prevention powers.
- Mushrooms: There is evidence that shows ‘shrooms have antiviral properties that can strengthen your body against the flu virus. Experiment by using a variety of mushrooms like shitake, portabella, cremini, and porcini. Try them roasted or sautéed, in mushroom soup, and as a topping on pizza.
- Garlic: Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold. Toss some in when roasting vegetables or for a super quick weeknight dinner add some minced garlic to a stir-fry.
- Kiwi: We all know that vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold and help prevent illnesses. What you might not know is that one cup of kiwi contains double of your daily need for vitamin C than citrus fruits. It’s the perfect addition to fruit salads, desserts, and smoothies.
- Water: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks. Keep a bottle with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag. If you want to make your water more exciting, try infusing it with a combination of fresh fruits and herbs.
- Yogurt: Look for yogurts with “live and active cultures” on the label. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight colds and flu. Try to choose plain yogurt rather than the pre-flavored ones that are loaded with sugar. Instead, sweeten the plain yogurt with fresh fruits.
- Almonds: Studies have found that a naturally occurring chemical found in almond skins can boost the immune system’s response to infection. To sneak in more almonds, think beyond snack time. Spread almond butter on your morning toast or sprinkle slivered almonds on your salad at lunchtime.
The best way to prevent the flu is get the flu shot. Even if it is not 100% effective, the duration and severity can be less severe. At AFC Urgent Care, no appointment is needed to get the flu vaccine. And if you think you may have the flu, stop in for a rapid flu test. At AFC, they strive to provide the best healthcare possible, in a kind and caring environment.
With locations in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Norwalk, and Shelton, AFC Urgent Care is always there for you and your families’ healthcare needs. Most major and Connecticut State insurance (Husky, Medicaid, and Medicare) plans are accepted. To learn more about their services or to contact the nearest AFC Urgent Care visit their website.