The last couple of weeks I’ve been fighting a nasty bug to which I thought I won the final battle with until this weekend came. I’d followed the typical tips that moms and doctors advise you on when you’re sick. Drink plenty of fluids, incorporate lots of vitamin C into your diet, make sure to get plenty of rest, and take it easy on your body. I eat pretty healthy with lots of fresh fruits and veggies (if I’m not eating an apple a day I’m definitely getting plenty of other fresh produce rich in vitamins and minerals!) and drink water as if my body is going to shrivel up and die if I don’t. In addition, this past week I made sure to try my best to be in bed by 8:30 or 9:00 and forgo my morning runs by replacing them with light workouts indoors instead. And what do I get? A painful ear infection with a high fever and the feeling that I must have slept walked last night and in the process wound up being hit by a bus.
Instead of discussing a workout or healthy recipe today, I decided to do some research on the facts and myths of preventing getting sick and what are the best remedies to go about overcoming the common cold.
Did you know the average adult will come down with the cold roughly 2-4 times a year? Even the healthiest person out there is inevitably going to become sick from time to time. Here are the best tips to avoid becoming sick and take action before those nasty bugs take over your body.
Tips to avoid those sick bugs
1. Sleep. The recommendation for hours of sleep each night is 7-9 hours. Sometimes that can be difficult though. Try setting your bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you’re getting the right amount of sleep.
Tip: Struggle to fall asleep? Try eating a bit of turkey for dinner. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps to produce niacin, which is a b vitamin! Niacin then helps produce serotonin which relaxes your brain and helps you sleep better. You can also take melatonin which is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Your body produces this when exposed to darkness. Also try to limit your exposure to blue light that comes from the TV and computer. This can reduce the body’s ability to produce melatonin.
2. Clean Freak. Okay, so you don’t have to go so far as to become OCD about being clean. But it is important to wash your hands before handling food, after using the restroom, or when you’ve been exposed to someone else who may be sick. Being in the city has taught me to always have a couple bottles of anti-bacterial hand gel on me since there are so many people and the subways can be a germ-infested nation in themselves.
Tip: It’s not enough to just run your hands under hot water really quick or put a dollop of soap on your hands and rinse it off. Really remove germs away by making sure to lather and scrub every part of of your hand and under your nails. Try singing the Birthday Song (in your head, or out loud if your heart really desires) two times for an estimate on how long to scrub.
Source: The Lung Association
3. Stress Less. Be able to recognize what your stress inducers are and how to handle them. When you stress you weaken your body’s immune system and ability to fight viruses.
Tip: Try to find 30 minutes each day to do something that relaxes you such as reading, exercising, meditating, going for a walk, playing with a pet, or anything else that takes your mind off the chaos in your life. If it helps, take a couple minutes out of each day to organize and prioritize the tasks you have to do for the day. You may find that your thoughts are more clear and you will relieve some of the pressure placed on you to get everything done that day.
4. Eat Fresh. Load up on the fresh fruits and veggies. These contain the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to build a stronger immune system and you may even find that your mood and energy levels will benefit from it as well.
Random Fact: Eat a can of tuna for an immediate mood lifter. Have a banana to help reduce stress levels. Add some basil into your salad or sandwich to help a headache or indigestion.
You followed all this and you still managed to get sick. Now what?
Fighting the nasty bug
Source: Suzairhesumari Blog
Still make sure to get plenty of rest and lay low. Minimize the amount of moving around you do and still drink lots of liquids and eat healthy. But here are a few extra tips that may at least make you feel more comfortable while your insides are fighting a tough battle.
1. Don’t be stubborn. It’s okay to admit you’re sick and need to rest. If you need to take the day off, allow yourself to. This means completely take the day off from everything. Don’t use it as a day to get stuff done around the house or complete projects. Make yourself comfortable and try to get some sleep or at least allow your body to rest.
2. Hot Shower. Take a hot shower and allow the steam to help clear up your congestion. Studies have also shown that if you’re feeling brave enough to end your shower with a quick burst of cold water, you can help your lymphatic circulation which helps to remove bacteria and move white blood cells throughout your body to destroy unwanted cells that are harming your body.
3. Drink up. Drink lots of fluids, but you already know that. But what kind of fluids? Aim for anything clear which means lots of h2o and tea. The herbs in tea have many health benefits and the warmth can help soothe a sore throat.
Tip: Different herbs provide different benefits. Peppermint helps you to feel hydrated and clear sinuses. Chamomile relaxes an upset stomach. Ginger helps reduce nausea. Green teas provide antioxidants to fight free radical agents and strengthen the immune system. In additional, a spoonful of honey (not only helps the medicine go down) but can also provide relief from a sore throat.
Source: Healthy Times
4. Eat Healthy. You may have lost your appetite, or maybe you’re like me and crave foods that aren’t exactly the best for you when you’re sick. I love sorbet, saltine, and pudding. Not terrible, but also not the best. You may not have the energy to make your own soup, but try to find soups that are low in sodium and have lots of veggies in them.
Tip: I love to eat sorbet or frozen yogurt when I’m sick. It makes my throat feel better but unfortunately isn’t exactly what my body needs. Try to make a smoothie with frozen fruit (try ones rich in antioxidants like berries), some spinach or cauliflower (you won’t be able to taste it but will still get the benefits), and some protein so your body is still getting the proper nutrients and the coolness you want.
5. Time to see a doctor. There comes a point when only a doctor can truly tell you what’s going to make you get better and can advise you on what’s best for your body. Trust your instincts and if something just doesn’t feel right or you are getting worse, go to your doctor and see what they advise.
Hope everyone else is healthy and well! As for me I’m downing my 8th cup of tea this morning and about to take another snooze. Fingers crossed this is a battle I win in the next 24 hours!