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It’s that time of year. We switch the lingo up where it becomes brick outside. The hawk is waiting for you around every corner. Every pharmacy is pushing the flu shot like red tops and offering some incentive along with it. Come get your flu shots plus get a bundle of coupons. The flu is that thing that no one wants to get during the winter. If it settles in, it can become worse that just a “passing cold.” It can develop into bronchitis or linger on for weeks. Ain’t nobody got time for that (let alone a whole bunch of sick days if they have sick days at all at their job). Like all sickness, the best offense is a good defense. Preventative medicine is the way to beat the flu. Even if you fall victim to the flu, a good preventative regimen will lessen the flu’s impact while also shortening the time that you are afflicted. Here are some solid steps that you can incorporate in your daily routine during these cold months:

Bundle Up: One of the things that messes up anyone’s immune system is temperature shock. When you go from one temperature extreme to the other, the body doesn’t have time to adjust. It messes up the internal chemistry of your physical. The dysfunctions of a weakened immune system are the many illnesses and sicknesses you see. In order to counter this, one of the things you have to do is what your momma told you….bundle up. Bundle up good. Use layers instead of just depending on one big coat. With layers, you are trapping levels of air around your body. Those layers, being smaller, can heat up faster and retain heat longer than one “big bubble.”

Drink Water: This may seem to be a weird one out of the bunch, yet when it is cold people drink less water. The drink warm stuff like hot chocolate and coffee yet the body needs pure water. Without water, again, the chemistry of the body gets messed up. You are becoming dehydrated. Water provides the foundation for your blood, internal lubrication and temperature regulation for the body. If you water level is down, you are setting yourself up to invite the flu to your doorstep.

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Get Sunlight: It is often gloomy and such during the Winter months depending on where you live. Sunlight is key in Vitamin D production. It is in part this decrease in sunlight and the abundance of artificial lights which plays on our immune system. Whenever you have a chance when there is sunlight during these colder/darker months, get your sun bathing on. In that office, stand in that stream that comes in the window. Use your lunch break to seek it out if it is peaking through the clouds.

Cut Down Sugar: Listen, refined sugar ain’t good for you. There ain’t no redeeming value to it. Some studies have shown that it is just as (if not more) addicting than forms of cocaine. It has zero calories. It gives you a quick buzz, then drops your blood sugar level to below where it was before you consumed the sugar. With all of that said, it is almost impossible to avoid in this society. They place it in everything from pasta to ketchup. Make a conscious decision to cut back on sugar that is obvious like pastries, that you add in your coffee, cereals, etc. Sugar just beats up your immune system. Also, during Winter time many of us seek out more comfort foods, which overall have more sugar in them. I’m not saying cut them all out (if you can you’re the real MVP), yet if you can, cut back you will see some direct results.

Tea and Soup: With so many things working against the immune system during the winter, it could use some power up during this time. Two simple ways are tea and soup. Get yourself some good herbal teas/tonics that basically streamline vitamins and minerals into your system. Choose teas that have such herbs as echinacea, golden seal, ginseng, garlic, tumeric and astragalus. The same thing with soups. Choose soups and stews that have a healthy mix of root vegetables (squashes, onion/garlic, carrots, potatoes). Such vegetable are “in season” during the Fall and Winter and were used by Indigenous peoples to thicken their blood in preparation for the cold months.

Move Your Body: When the cold hits, you want to go into hibernation mode. It is natural. To keep that body working at its highest potential during the colder months though you have to keep active. Figure out some type of routine that will keep your whole frame moving. Trust me…being flu free will be your greatest reward.

You can beat the flu. The best way though is to make it your priority to not get the flu. Get busy