7 Tips To Help You Remain Healthy During Flu Season
On Tuesday, I got my flu shot (complete with a Garfield bandage). I started this ritual when Mom moved near me in 2005. As a caregiver, I couldn't afford to get sick while Mom needed me; now, with my 80-plus year-old father living near me, I still want to be proactive in maintaining my health.
So I was very interested in a Health Magazine story, "How Some Women Never Get Sick," on CNN's website that described seven secrets that help women avoid becoming sick. These seven tips (which are greatly expanded on the CNN website) include:
- Get a massage. Health reports that massage "can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate -- and lowering these is likely to cause your stress level to drop, one key to building immunity." Another way to get the benefits is to use a stiff, natural-bristle brush while showering.
- Take a cold shower. Although there's little research on this, Health reports, "Devotees claim cold showers help with low energy, migraines, circulation, and pain reduction." Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have cardiovascular problems before adopting this recommendation since the sudden chill of cold water may cause an increase in blood pressure.
- Eat ginger. Researchers believe its compounds stimulate digestive secretions, improve intestinal muscle tone, and help move food through the gastrointestinal tract, according to Health.
- Wash your hands often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say hand-washing is the number-one action you can take to dodge the 1 billion colds Americans come down with annually, not to mention bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella.
- Take vitamin C and zinc when you're not feeling well. Health noted, "Although vitamin C and zinc for cold prevention remain controversial, some studies show that C is especially helpful for people who are under extreme stress and that zinc can prevent viruses from multiplying."
- Eat garlic. The herb, in addition to boosting defenses against everyday illness by boosting immunity and fighting inflammation, probably helps to stave off cancer and boost heart health.
- Keep a positive attitude. Health reported, ‘In one study, participants who had heightened activity in a region of the brain associated with a positive attitude produced greater amounts of flu antibodies. Another study showed that people with sunny dispositions churned out more antibodies in response to vaccinations."
As we enter cold and flu season, every little bit can help in preventing illness. As a caregiver, staying healthy will help you do a better job and also may help your loved one who has Alzheimer's maintain their own health.