Five Steps to Flu Prevention

Tips to resist germs and stay flu-free.

1. WARD OFF GERMS

Most flu germs are spread in two ways: touching (such as hand-to-hand contact) or droplet spread (meaning the germs are sneezed or coughed into the air and inhaled by a nearby unsuspecting person). To nix person-to-person spread, avoid shaking hands, keep kids from nose-picking, sneeze into a tissue and teach children to sneeze into the inside of their elbow (not their hands), shun coughers and sneezers as much as possible, avoid crowded rooms and go outdoors as much as possible.

2. KEEP HANDS CLEAN

Besides breathing in germs, people are most susceptible to germs via their hands. Place antibacterial hand wipes likes Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes around the house, in children’s lunchboxes and in family member’s coat and pant pockets. Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes are proven to be just as effective as gel hand sanitizer in killing 99.99 percent of germs. Yet, they clean away dirt and messes without drying out skin like alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Show children how to use hand wipes and tell them that wipes help keep germs from getting into the body and making them sick. The frequent use of antibacterial hand wipes, especially during flu season, plants an important lifelong health habit into a child’s growing memory.

3. EAT IMMUNE-BOOSTING FOODS

The best way to boost the immune system, especially during flu season, is to eat more immune-boosting foods, such as fruits, vegetables, seafood and yogurt. The top immune-boosting foods include: apples, apricots, bell peppers, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, chili peppers, flax oil, flax seeds (ground), grapefruit (pink), grapes (red, purple), guava, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), mango, melons, nuts, olive oil, onion, oranges, papaya, pomegranate (and pomegranate juice), prunes, wild salmon, spices like turmeric and cinnamon, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and vinegar.
Equally as important as eating more immune-boosting foods is reducing sugar intake so limit the sweets that the family eats. Eating or drinking eight teaspoons of sugar (the equivalent of 2½, 12-ounce cans of soda) can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. Adults should also avoid excessive alcohol, which can also reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs.

4. CLEAR THE NOSE AND SINUSES


Because flu germs often settle first in the nose and sinuses, keep nasal passages clear with either a "nose hose" or a "steam clean." Hose the nose with saltwater nose drops (½ teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of water) or ready-made saltwater (saline) solution, which is available at local pharmacies or supermarkets. Spritz a few drops of the solution into clogged nasal passages and sneeze or gently suction out the loosened secretions using a nasal aspirator. Using a Neti Pot is also a good way to flush out the nose. Savor a "steam-clean" by using either a facial steamer or vaporizer to loosen nasal and sinus secretions.

5. STAY ACTIVE

Movement mobilizes the immune system. Kids who sit too much, especially indoors, get sick more often. Movement also mellows the mood, as stress depresses the immune system.