The cold and flu season is upon us and that means it's time to make some lifestyle changes or suffer the consequences. Do you remember how we behaved at this time last year? We were so vigilant about preventing disease when we were under the threat of the swine flu.
We all thought preventing it was a matter of life or death and, therefore, for the first time, people actually changed their behavior. Have you ever seen so many hand sanitizer dispensers? Our office was one of millions that had them installed on the walls every ten feet or so. Schools did the same.
The problem is, people stopped using them once they realized the swine flu wasn't the threat that we originally feared.
Keeping our hands clean is the very best way to prevent getting a cold or the flu. Let's review some of the things that were drilled into our heads last year, lest we forget. When washing, make sure to lather-up for 20 seconds. That's about the amount of time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Also, be mindful of where you touch. Some of us mindlessly put our dirty fingers in our mouths, noses or other "openings" which can lead to the spread of disease. Turn your head and sneeze onto your shoulder instead of into your hand to prevent the spread of disease.
There are a number of ways to stop cold, flu and even depression before they strike. They all fall under the umbrella of strengthening your immune system, or the way our bodies naturally fight-off disease.
First, get enough sleep. Like hand washing, it's so simple and often repeated and highly effective. But people just don't do it.
Eating protein also strengthens your immune system. This is because when you eat lots of protein you naturally eat fewer carbohydrates. That's good, because carbs stress the immune system by spiking glucose levels, putting stress on the pancreas and the immune system. So stay away from all that sugar as best you can.
Also, drink plenty of water. This again, like hand washing and sleeping is a health habit that is constantly mentioned and infrequently adopted. The reason it's important to drink enough water is because it is the foundation of our body. If you don't drink enough water, it can cause health problems too numerous to list in this space here. But some of the biggies are headaches and fatigue.
How much should you be drinking? What is half of your body weight? That is the number of ounces of water you should drink each day.
Eat lots of raw fruits and veggies. They are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that are critical to fight the things that stress our bodies.
Last, but certainly not least, manage your stress. Prayer is the best way, in my opinion. Give the first hour of your day to God. Actually every hour of the day should be given to God! What this means is be ALONE with God the first hour of each day, focusing only on Him. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to health problems, from the common cold to cancer. Exercise is also a great stress reliever, as is laughter and giving love and serving others.