Tips for Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

By on February 11, 2019
Flu Season

Winter is a time for snuggling up by the fire with a cup of tea and good book, hopefully without the addition of a runny nose and fever during this flu season. Colds spread through the office and school classrooms like crazy at this time of year, but you don’t have to join in the suffering. Most adults and kids continue to go to work and school while sick unless they are just too sick to get out of bed. So that means, colds get spread very easily by just touching a doorknob or a keypad where germs can live for hours, then touching your face where viruses enter through your eyes, nose, or mouth. This is how most kids catch a cold and spread it to their parents.

Here are some easy tips you can add to your life this winter.

  1. Sleep. It’s essential for good health any time, but even more so when everyone around you is coughing and sneezing. Make sure you get 7-9 hours starting at 9-10pm.

  2. Food and supplements. Eat healthy whole foods like leafy greens that are filled with nutrients. Nutritional supplements will help you get the optimal level of vitamins and antioxidants that you don’t get through your food.

  3. Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Then wash your hands immediately. Only about 40% of your sneeze makes it into the tissue, the rest ends up on your hands. So wash them whenever using a tissue. If there are no tissues handy, use our elbow to catch your sneeze.

  4. Exercise. Aerobic exercise pumps up your heart and moves oxygen from your lungs to your blood. This helps increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells and immune response.

  5. Hand washing. Do it several times a day and try not to touch your face. When you wash your hands, lather up with the soap while singing happy birthday, twice. Then rinse your hands.

  6. Meditate daily. A daily practice of meditation or even just thinking happy or calming thoughts can boost your immune system. Try 5 minutes of deep breathing, as this will lower cortisol levels, which increase when you feel stressed. Stress, on the other hand, has been proven to lower your immune response.

  7. Reduce stress: Chronic stress has a negative impact on the immune system which can cause health conditions and diseases to develop if it is experienced over the long term. While eliminating stress is not always possible, being mindful of following the steps above and doing something you enjoy or actively finding the positive in each situation you face is.

If you are on the verge of a cold with symptoms such as a scratchy throat, feeling a bit off, or increased fatigue, that’s when to start taking a commonly found remedy called Yin Chiao. It needs to be taken right away and several times at the first sign of anything feeling like a cold. The other home remedy to try is the wet sock treatment. This is where you take a pair of cotton socks, wet them with hot water and ring them out. Put them on your feet and cover them with a pair of wool socks and go to bed. When you wake in the morning the scratchy throat and congestion will be gone and the socks will be dry. To read more about why this works, here is a blog I wrote about it.

fall scents for your home

Sometimes a cold can’t be avoided, but if you follow these guidelines, you will most likely end up with a much milder version of what everyone else has. If this does happen, stay home from work and sleep. It’s the best way to support your body’s healing process.

Follow these simple tips all year round to stay healthy and boost your immune system.

Donna Parker LAc. is a Classical Five Element acupuncturist, Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach who supports patients in making healthy lifestyle changes. Donna helps busy women work toward a healthier lifestyle using low glycemic eating and nutritional supplements that result in increased vitality and health. Visit her website at for more information about her programs.


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Tips for Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season