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How to Prevent the Flu

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Influenza is running rampant in Minnesota. In fact, 27 people have died from the flu. Here are a few simple steps to possibly prevent you getting the flu. 

Practice “Respiratory Etiquette”

“Respiratory Etiquette” is just a fancy way of saying “cover your cough” but it’s what hospitals and other health care facilities are saying now. Another tip we always hear is “practice good hand washing habits” but what does that mean? It means wash your hands in hot water with soap for at least 20 seconds. If you aren’t sure if you’ve washed your hands for long enough, the next time you wash your hands, say the ABC’s in your head. When you get to “sing with me” it’s time to rinse. This is especially important before we eat as most illness comes from hand to mouth contact. It’s also a good idea to disinfect surfaces around the house because germs can live for HOURS outside our bodies. Also, don’t share ANYTHING with someone who’s sick.

Gargle

Gargling with salt water just a few times per day are far less likely to get sick, but if you’re already sick, gargling with salt water just a few times per day can help clear the virus out of your throat. The best mixture is eight ounces of water to one half teaspoon of salt, but don’t use iodized table salt. That’s what I was using and it wasn’t working, so I asked a pharmacist. She told me that sea salt or salt packets for the Neti pot are best.

Wash Your Nose

I was told once when I was sick to stick a turkey baster full of salt water up my nose. I was talking to someone else who asked me about how I was feeling what this guy said and he explained that it’s called a Neti pot and it rinses out your sinuses. They told me that it works wonders flushing out your sinuses and it helps with allergies, too. It’s not the prettiest or most comfortable thing you do all day and Glen and I refer to it as an at home waterboarding kit, but it really does work. Really.

Hot Tea

Drinking hot tea with honey and lemon feels so good. I don’t consume caffeine after about 8am, so I went with decaf green tea or a citrus and chamomile blend, but drinking hot liquids can help aid in digestion. If you’ve ever been to some sort of catered luncheon or dinner, they offer coffee after dinner because apparently  it aids in digestion. I learned that from a chef. Hot drinks also can ease cold and flu symptoms. Inhaling the steam can break up mucus. Honey coats your throat to help soreness and darker varieties of honey also have strong antimicrobial properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of flu infection. Plus, the citrus gives your immune system a kick.

Getting the flu shot always helps. Many people are afraid of getting a flu shot because they think they can get sick from it. For more flu shot facts and fiction, click HERE.

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