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Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold/Flu Season

My kiddos have started school again, and I have already started our cold/flu season regimen for staying healthy! Here are my top tips for preventing sickness.

1. Wash Your Hands!
This seems like a no-brainer, but having good hand-washing hygiene is so important during cold and flu season. This is especially true if you have little ones that put everything in their mouths. In one study, participants who washed their hands at least 5 times a day had a 45% reduction in respiratory illnesses than other groups. 

2. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Having a healthy gut has been shown to help boost immune function. In one study, groups that took daily probiotic supplements had 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections than the placebo group. 

3. Get Acupuncture and Take Chinese Herbs!
Acupuncture can help boost your immune system, and Chinese Herbs are amazing at prevention (tonifying lung energy and boosting your wei qi or "defensive energy") and to minimize symptoms if you do catch anything. Most Chinese Herbal formulas for colds, coughs, sinus congestion, and sore throats contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs for natural options to beat those bugs! We are stocked ready with adult and pediatric herbs for cold season.  

4. Prevention with a Healthy Diet!
Let's get real people. If you are eating crap, you are going to feel like crap, and are probably more likely to get sick. According traditional Chinese nutritional advice, the best foods for a healthy system in the Fall and Winter include warm and cooked foods and seasonal produce. These foods include soups, stews, root veggies, squash, apples and pears to name a few. Avoid damp/mucus producing foods this time of year: dairy, sugar and processed carbs, greasy and fried foods. 

5. Vitamin D
Getting natural vitamin D is ideal, so get outside and soak it up! 15 minutes a day is all that it takes. A vitamin D3 supplement is also recommended when the days get dark and rainy here in the PNW. The AMA recommends at least 1,000iu of Vit D daily. 

6. Antioxidants for Health
What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are nutrients that fight damage in the body by attacking free-radicals. Free-radicals are created by chemical exposure, poor diet and viruses. Unchecked, these free radicals cause cell damage and weaken your immune system. Antioxidants are usually high in fruits and vegetables. My favorite antioxidant supplement is elderberry syrup. It is sweet so the kids, and adults, don't mind taking it.  

Chinese Herbs for Cold and Flu