Maybe you got the flu shot, maybe you forgot–oops! Regardless some simple things like getting enough sleep and following a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping you in top shape this winter. To help keep your sick days from racking up, we chatted with Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors as he teams up with Arm & Hammer Simply Saline for their latest campaign on natural, drug-free ways to stay healthy this season.
Whether you got the flu shot or not, what are some things we all should be doing to keep the flu away?
The winter months are really the time to practice those healthy habits we talk about all the time. If you’re not getting enough sleep, not eating well and not hydrating, the chances of you battling a cold or the flu is higher than if you are doing these things. Since nutrition is an important part of staying healthy, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function at its best. Supplements have never really been shown to have the same benefits as whole foods, so eat up!
I am also a fan of nasal irrigation to hydrate nasal passages and alleviate congestion that tends to occur in the winter. I’ve partnered with Arm & Hammer Simply Saline because they make nasal sprays that are easy to use and can be taken anywhere I go, especially airplanes where germs love to linger! We want our nasal membranes moist, as opposed to dry and friable, because hydrated membranes act as an extra protective barrier when a virus tries to invade our nasal passages. Viruses can also enter through our eyes and mouth, so be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching these vulnerable areas. Read more
An early—and potentially bad—flu season is already underway, the CDC reported last week. But it’s not too late to get a flu shot, says Kevin Ronneberg, M.D., associate medical director at Target, where he oversees guest care at the company’s clinics and pharmacies. We asked Dr. Ronneberg about the newer, less painful flu shot, how the vaccine affects workouts and more:
FITNESS: The CDC recommends that all Americans older than six months get an annual flu vaccine. Why do you recommend it for fit, healthy young women?
Dr. Ronneberg: Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. Getting vaccinated reduces your chance of becoming infected with the flu virus—it can also help to protect the people you love who may not be able to get vaccinated.
All Target pharmacies (find one) now offer the “micro-needle” flu shot. Is it actually less painful?
The intradermal needle is 90 percent smaller than a standard flu shot needle and it is also preservative-free. Because the intradermal needle is smaller in size, it is inserted directly under the skin rather than into the muscle. This results in less muscle ache immediately following injection. Essentially, it’s as ouch-free as a shot can be.
We offer various options for flu shots—including the traditional flu vaccine. Our pharmacists are also available to help determine which type of vaccine is right for you. Read more
I woke up with a sore throat this a.m., so I’ve been sucking on zinc lozenges. Taking zinc within 24 hours of the first signs of a common cold really does help shorten its duration by about a day, according to a new Cochrane Review of studies on the topic. However, people taking zinc lozenges (as opposed to tablets or syrups) are more likely experience side effects like bad taste and nausea, the report notes, so I’m being careful not to go overboard!
(Psssst…Not into lozenges? Try these six foods that fight off colds and flu!)
A few of our favorite fit links from around the web:
- 7 tips to steal from people who never get sick — Shine
- Bob Harper gives us a new move to try — YouTube
- Volleyball champ Kerri Walsh’s oatmeal peanut butter cookie recipe — FitSugar
- How to eat your way to better eyesight — Dietriffic
- Katy Perry’s on a new diet – FitCeleb
- Strange Story of the Week: Can you actually die of a broken heart? — WebMD
The last time I was sick, I quarantined myself in my cube and announced, “I have a cold!” to anyone who came within 10 feet of my desk (and anyone whose hand I would normally shake). Maybe it seems a tad rude, but I think it’s only good sick etiquette to curb my contagion. I’ve also been adhering to these CDC-endorsed germ stoppers:
- Wash your hands often, for as long as it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice—the scrubbing action helps eliminate pathogens.
- Or use alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer. I’ve been keeping a big bottle next to my keyboard and using it before I pass on folders, or anything else I touch, to my office mates.
- Do the vampire: cover your nose and mouth with your elbow, instead of your hand, when you cough or sneeze and don’t have a tissue at the ready.
- Stay home! It’s best not to come into the office in the first place if you’re sick, obvi. So clearly I haven’t followed this rule completely, but I will admit an afternoon on my couch watching a marathon of “Top Chef All-Stars” while in a cold medicine-induced haze did make me feel a little better—and saved my desk neighbors from listening to my incessant sniffling.
What’s your best sick etiquette tip—or pet peeve?
More from FITNESS: 31 Instant Health Boosters (aka How to Not Feel Sick in the First Place!)