You hear a lot about frequent hand washing this time of year. It’s the number one way to keep the flu at bay, but studies have found that the "fist bump" could also help stop the spread of germs.
Being sick is not your best look - the flu is not beautiful - so use these tips for staying well and gorgeous through the flu season, which typically increases through November and December before peaking in late December.
Flu fighting tips
1) Healthy eating - making proper food choices is a potent flu prevention method to add to your arsenal. Andrea Garen, registered dietitian, recommends adding flu-fighting foods such as yogurt, garlic, citrus and chicken to your diet. Citrus fruit contains vitamin C, while chicken and meat contain zinc. Both nutrients play important roles in a properly functioning immune system.
The probiotics in many yogurt and other cultured-milk products offer beneficial bacteria with immune-boosting benefits. Look for the "live active culture" seal when you’re shopping to be sure you’re getting what you need.
Also check food labels for vitamin D. Early research suggests low levels of vitamin D may be linked to a seasonal increase in colds and flu and a higher incidence of respiratory infections.
Garlic also boosts the immune system, increasing resistance to infection and stress. Crush the cloves with the flat side of a knife before adding them to food to release the garlic juice and its immune properties.
If you're already sick, try good old-fashioned chicken soup and recipes that call for fresh ginger. Fresh ginger helps control nausea and stomach upset, while chicken soup reduces inflammation and helps relieve nasal congestion.
2) Don't spread the love - being out and about spreads germs - stay home if you're sick. Avoid close contact with other people when you're sick or if they are sick. Cough and sneeze into your elbow to avoid spreading germs hand to hand.
3) Ward off the flu naturally - keep away sniffles with naturally-based Eucalyptus bath products from Kneipp, such as Eucalyptus Sinus Relief Herbal Bath. Used as a natural decongestant for hundreds of years, the aromatic vapors of eucalyptus essential oil should be inhaled during a warm bath to help clear the sinuses. The company's research shows it can even work to prevent sickness when you feel the telltale signs of the flu coming on, including chills, stuffy nose, head congestion and general exhaustion.
The highly concentrated bath treatment with essential eucalyptus oil stimulates and clears the senses while helping to alleviate congestion. The directions recommend soaking for 15-20 minutes "to attain the full benefits of the sinus clearing vapors and leave the tub breathing clearly."
As an alternative, Kneipp also recommends its Eucalyptus Sinus Relief Mineral Bath Salts. Made with pure and natural thermal brine salt sourced from Europe’s last remaining salt works using traditional pan-boiling methods, “Saline Luisenhall,” these aroma-intensive crystals are easily soluble and release eucalyptus essential oil when poured into a warm, steamy bath. Free from chemical additives and environmental pollutants, these bath salts are naturally rich in trace minerals, including magnesium, calcium and zinc, which are absorbed by the body when soaking in the tub.