How to Avoid the Flu & Viruses

If you’re like me, you’re on lockdown right now because or COVID-19. It can be disconcerting having so much attention brought to a virus and makes you wonder if you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself. While all viruses are a little different there are some standard things you can do to limit not only your exposure, as everyone’s doing now, but also protect yourself if you do get exposed. Let’s look at some ways you can protect yourself from any virus.

Keep your Immunity High

Believe it or not, the best way to protect yourself from viruses is to have a strong immune system that can fight for you. You can build your immune system by eating whole, plant based foods. That means no packaged foods, no refined flours, and no refined sugars. I would also add, for those ready to take the leap, no refined oils either. Your focus should be on whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds. It’s really that simple. Eat foods that build your body and keeps inflammation low.

Cleanse Your System

This sounds silly, but sometimes we forget that water is so important in cleansing our bodies and protecting it from noncommunicable diseases. While this seems it wouldn’t help against protecting you against communicable disease, think of it this way; if your immunity army is fighting one battle it has less soldiers to fight battles elsewhere.

So, ditch the juices, sodas, and alcohol, which don’t help your immune system, and upgrade to some good old water. If you’re among the few that don’t like the taste of water, try infused water to help increase your consumption. Any fruit, herb or vegetable will work for this. Just add your fruit, herb or vegetable of choice to a large pitcher and fill with water. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. You’ll have delicious flavored water in no time. Try and experimenting with different flavor combinations, such as strawberry and rosemary. You might enjoy it!

Get Plenty of Rest

Another way to help your immune system stay strong and fight for you is to get lots of rest. Your body is in a state of repair and regeneration when you’re sleeping. If you don’t get a good nights sleep or enough sleep you’re quite literally diminishing your bodies immune response.

Make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep for you. Every age group requires a different amount of sleep. There is even a different requirement for men versus women, with women requiring on average of an hour more than men every night. Ultimately, you know your body and the amount of sleep you function best on. Make sure you’re getting enough for your body.

Decrease Stress

Similarly, to not getting enough sleep, stress plays an important role on immune function. Stress stimulates our adrenal glands, and when over stimulated leads to a chain reaction of events that reduce our immune systems ability to function properly. This is also why it’s recommended to decrease caffeine consumption, which can over stimulate the adrenals.

The goal is to find a balance in your body and lifestyle that makes you feel calm and in control. Sometimes, outside stressors such as work, family or friends tug at us. Remember, you are only one person and take things in stride. Take the time to listen to your body and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take a step back. Try meditation, breathing exercises, or prayer. It’s ok to be honest and let others know what your limits are or to ask for help. This is not being weak, it’s keeping you strong.

Wash Your Hands

This is another one I don’t think needs mentioning, but for the sake of covering all bases, wash you hands. Use good old soap and water, a minimum of 20 seconds, and wash your hands. Make sure not to use anti-bacterial soap and if your want to know why read my article Why You Want Bacteria on Your Skin. I think that’s all that needs to be said in regards to washing your hands; do it and do it regularly.

Don’t Touch Disinfectants or Antibacterials

In addition to not using antibacterial soap, and hopefully now you either know or have educated yourself as to why, don’t let your skin come into contact with any other disinfectants or anti-bacterials. You don’t want anything diminishing the protective layer on your skin, or in other words, diminishing your skins microbiome. If you must come into contact with antibacterials or disinfectants, wear gloves.

A common question I get in regards to this is, how do I clean the surfaces in my house, then. I will be covering this topic in another article, but to answer it here quickly, soap and water. Believe it or not, you will be able to rid your home of all harmful bacteria and virus with just soap and water. If you’d like to have a little more disinfecting power, say in the bathrooms or kitchen, a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar with 12-24 drops of essential oils is your ticket.

Clean Your Reusables

While you have your cleaning supplies out, clean your reusables. Anything that moves around in public places with you should be cleaned upon re-entry into your home. This means purses, wallets, reusable grocery bags, cell phones, and yes, shoes. This is where a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar kept in your laundry room is or kitchen is essential.

Also, don’t wear shoes in the house. You’re literally tracking all that yuck right into your personal space. We have a large sink in our laundry room and if shoes come back in the house the soles get scrubbed with soap and water first.

Wash Your Fruits & Veggies

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you are not washing your fruits and veggies you’re increasing your exposure to viruses. Even if you’re not going to eat the peel you should still wash it. When you cut into a fruit or peel it with your hands your basically just pushing the bacteria around to places you might be consuming.

It takes a short amount of time to wash them and all you need is a bit of vinegar around to do a thorough job. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar under the kitchen sink for ‘wash as I go’ projects. I also keep a small jar under the sink, as well, for when I bring a grocery haul home; 1 TBS vinegar to a gallon of water. Let your fruits and veggies take a happy bath, rinse, and store as usual.

In Conclusion

The best way to avoid the flu and viruses is to live a healthy lifestyle, be clean but not a clean freak. Bacteria is a necessary part of keeping you healthy. Be smart about how you clean your body and your environment. You’ll find you actually get sick less when being less stressed about coming into contact with viruses.

The reality is you will come into contact with lots of viruses, but if you have a strong immune system your little immunity ninjas will kill it before you have a chance to realize it. As I mentioned above, stress diminishes immunity. Relax, live a health and balanced lifestyle, and use soap and water.

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