Baby, It’s Cold (and Flu Season) Outside

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leafy salad

Salads are a great source of vitamin c!

“AAAAH-CHOO!” “EEEEEH-eeeeh” “HAAAAGH”. The sneezing. The wheezing. The raw, dry red nose that lights up like Rudolph from the excessive use of tissues. 10 year old me would consistently find it hilarious when my father would start coughing and sneezing 14 times in a row (that was the record last I counted). Now, although still quite funny, 30 year old me recognizes it as the start of the cold and flu season. As they say on a certain cable show based on a book series which, for copyright purposes, will remain unnamed, “Winter is coming.” So, what can we do to safeguard ourselves and our friends and family, from the health issues that Mother Nature brings this time of year?

For starters, let’s look at our diet. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C are especially vital to boosting the immune system, as well as helping lessen oxidative stress to the body (that’s a fancy way of saying it’s an anti-oxidant. Thank you, I try). Everyone knows the deal. Oranges are an amazing source of Vitamin C. Each orange contains over 100% of your daily value. However, just in case you’re not a citrus fan, you can find extremely high sources of Vitamin C in other great foods. Tomatoes, peas, dark leafy greens like broccoli, even bell peppers and berries! Now go make yourself a delicious salad and call it a day! Unless you have other stuff to do. You should probably finish that up at some point. Just saying.

Another terrific way to defend yourself this cold season is to stay bundled up! And I’m not talking about just a cap or a hood. Dr. Daniel Sessler, a hypothermia expert at the University of Louisville Medical School, states that “…the face, head and upper chest are up to five times as sensitive to changes in temperature as other areas. This creates the illusion that covering up those areas traps in more heat, but clothing another part of the body does just as much to reduce overall heat loss.” Long story short my friends, invest in some long johns or least a nice fluffy pair of gloves to go along with that new hoodie. Staying warm helps keep your immune system running up to code, along with washing your hands regularly.

Speaking of hand washing, do yourself a favor and invest in a $2 bottle of hand sanitizer. They make them in some really great scents. There will probably be plenty of hand-shaking this holiday season, so it’s better to be prepared. Studies have shown that the “fist-bump” is actually an efficient way to reduce the spread of germs. I guess those guys on Jersey Shore were on to something after all. Also, just to be safe, consider getting yourself a flu shot. They offer them at almost all big-box pharmacies. It takes less than five minutes and it’s a great option for the elderly who have specific dietary and medicinal needs.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Make sure to take care of yourselves and your loved ones this holiday season. I’m going to wash my hands and take a nice gift basket of broccoli, hand sanitizer and a flu shot to my Dad. It’s my duty as a son to give back, right? Feel free to share some of your thoughts and ideas below on ways that you avoid the winter weather blues.

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