Monday, August 31, 2009

Swine Flu? No Thank You (Please).

I woke up early this morning. My weather report hits my phone at 6:30 a.m. and not too long after that, I found myself wide awake. Today's high will be 72*; a rude jump (from yesterday's 85*) into September, and a day early. 

While reading the news, I happened upon a story about how universities are preparing for Swine Flu prevention (and I am not calling it N1R2 or whatever the government's decided to call it now). They're adding those Purell dispensers all over campuses and dorms, and teaching the basics, like hand washing. Oh boy. In college? Shouldn't we all know this stuff, by the time we enter college?

Sadly, we don't. I see more people leaving the bathroom without washing their hands than I'd care to say. I've been coughed and sneezed on in bars, restaurants, you name it. Viruses are spread by droplet nuclei, shot out of the body via sneezes and coughs, for up to 6 feet in distance (that's a big sneeze), and by skin-to-skin contact. Fairly preventable, if only people paid attention and acted courteously.

Let's talk about how we can up our chances of avoiding, or at least minimizing, catching nasty viruses. Using hand sanitizers does not replace good ol' soap and water. When tested, many brands did not remove germs, but instead, moved them around on your hands. So please, soap up.

I'm saying, literally, wash your hands. Seriously. Don't just run them under water. Wash them. Use soap, and scrub for the whole Happy Birthday song, two verses, on pace (don't rush the lyrics). Of course, probably best to sing in your head. I'm just saying...  

I have travel soap that I love, that smells so good, I always want to wash my hands. It's from Saipua, White Grapefruit with Bergamot travel soap (a full size bar) and I bought the muslin travel sack to go with it. It makes hand washing easy. I also keep a travel size tube of hand lotion to use afterward, to prevent dryness.

Now that you've washed your hands, don't grab the door handle (tons of germs). Use a paper towel between you and the handle, and then discard the towel after opening. Sounds like work? I think it's worth it, to prevent being sick.

Physical prevention is great, but it's also important to really boost your immune system. I am in the process of super-boosting right now. You need to eat really healthy, lots of fresh (organic whenever possible) fruits and vegetables, every day. I have a protein shake in the morning, and add frozen organic fruit to it. Then I eat at least one leafy green salad a day, plus a snack of a fruit in the afternoon, and a vegetable with dinner. It's not enough, though, so I am supplementing (I call it insurance) with Juice Plus+ capsules daily. (My son's taking the gummies - he gets it free since I buy it) Juice Plus+ has 17 fruits and vegetables, plus fiber, and probiotics. It's a very easy way to get my antioxidants, phytonutrients, and all the other things that I need but am not getting in my daily diet.

All this is wonderful, but it's also important to minimize the more toxic foods, like sugar, that cause your body to release free radicals. Read labels to see just how much sugar you are eating (you'll be surprised), and begin to cut back.

Along with eating well, your body needs exercise. Exercising works our lungs, heart, gets blood flowing. It strengthens the muscles and has a positive effect on our organs. Exercise daily, if possible, in any safe way. I love walking as a staple, and adding classes to your schedule as you become ready.

Making your body as strong and stable as possible is a great way to prevent illness. Unfortunately, it doesn't make us immune, so if you do catch a cold, please stay home (instead of passing it along to the rest of us), drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, and your boost Vitamin C intake.