veggie-pic-free-range2‘Tis the season to cough, blow your nose, or lose your food.  (This is a little less crude than saying vomit, puke, or barf.)  The very thought of the flu season, and all those germs floating through the air, sends many people running to the sink to wash their hands multiple times per day, or to the bottle of hand sanitizer.  Clinics and doctors office fill up with people waiting for their flu shot.  Before jumping into the mainstream and mania of prevention, consider some of these facts.


Repetitive Hand Washing – Keeping your hands clean will help to wash away germs, but washing your hands with harsh, chemical laden soaps can cause cracking of the skin, particularly if you already have dry skin.  Our skin acts as a barrier of protection for our body.  These cracks and cuts allow entry of infectious bacteria to the bloodstream.


Follow hand washing with a good, high quality lotion.  Avoid any product that contains sodium laurel sulphate, parabens, BHT, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, phenol carbolic acid, propylene glycol, arcylamide, dioxane, or toluene.  All of these are toxic substances.  Basically, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t apply it to your skin.  Use products that are organic and contain animal fat.


Hand Sanitizers – A study that was conducted in our own East Tennessee State University lab yielded results that if the hand sanitizer didn’t contain at least 60%-90% alcohol, it wasn’t effective at killing germs.  Check the label for content, even on the brand name sanitizers.  Once again, alcohol is drying to the skin, so keep the lotion handy.


Flu Shots – are not for everyone!  Before you line up at the nearest clinic to get injected, check with your doctor.  Some of the risks of getting the flu shot outweigh getting the flu, for someone with autoimmune disease, or other medical history, so don’t assume that you need it.  Others of you are putting yourself at risk if you don’t get the shot, so please be diligent about checking with your doctor first.


Stay Home – Doesn’t it just drive you crazy when a co-worker comes to work sick?  While they may feel they are being noble and dedicated, they are putting all of those around them at risk for getting sick, too.  Stay at home when you are sick!  This goes double for your children.  Keep them at home and let them get well before you spread their germs to all the other little people in their classroom.


Take Your VitaminsEating all those fruits and veggies is important year round, but particularly during flu season.  You want to keep your vitamins coming into your body in pure form.  The problem is that we are all too busy to eat as healthy as we should.  Supplement your diet with a good multi-vitamin.  Stock up on Vitamin C for the winter.


Sleep – Restful sleep restores your body.  When we are run down, we are more susceptible to getting sick.  It gets dark earlier in the winter, so go to bed earlier and let that good sleep work for you.


You might wonder why I didn’t mention exercise.  Do I have to remind you to brush your teeth?  Exercise is a given.  A regular exerciser significantly decreases their risk for getting sick.  However, if you go to the gym be extra careful to use the disinfectant on the machines before you use them, and keep your hands away from your mouth and nose.


Here’s wishing you a healthy and disease free winter.

7 thoughts on “Fighting the Flu

  1. I am a fanatic about hand-washing and I am very conscious of people around me who don’t wash their hands–especially if they’re cooking. I have refused plenty of good smelling food over the years because of the cook’s hygiene habits (or should I say LACK OF).

  2. Wonderful, practical advice! I’m usually pretty lucky and make it through the winter months unscathed. But, I am a counselor with a number of clients so I’m shaking hands all the time. Thanks to you, I’ll be keeping my vitamin C levels high and being extra diligent about washing my hands.
    Thanks, Pam!

  3. Love these practical tips! I tend to get the low-grade flu, the long and lingering kind where you can still function more or less at times, but feel lousy. At the first sign, I take the homeopathic remedy, Oscillococcinum (Oscillo for short). It’s a little pricey–about $2/dose–but it nips it in the bud in 2-3 doses. I have an immune herbs chicken soup recipe from a friend that helps, and my mother’s tried and true immune tonic, Deep Defense by Rainbow Light. Thanks for the reminder it’s time to gear up for the season!

  4. Wish I had ready your post a little earlier. I’m just getting over some nasty little bug! It seems since my granddaughter has started attending pre-school, she picks up every little thing that comes along and then passes it straight to me. Please, moms, heed Pam’s advice and keep them home if they are sick. Not only are they potentially passing their cold to everyone in their class, but to the rest of the family as well.

    Stocking up on vitamin C and chicken soup! Thanks, Pam!

  5. Pam
    Thank you for a very good post. I work outside and in a service oriented industry where I have hand contact with others often. Believe me I understand the value in washing one’s hands. Using lotion after each washing was something no one ever told me. Had to learn that one the hard way. I have never had a flu shot and fortunately don’t get sick very often. I was relieved to know that not everyone needs one, as I am constantly hounded to get one. I do need to get more sleep though. (Working on that one.) And, yes, I do appreciate it when sick people stay home.

  6. Karen,
    Please talk to your doctor, before deciding not to take the flu shot. For sure, there are some that should not take it, like me..I have fibromyalgia and it can set me back for days.

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