Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ah-Choo! Tips for Staying Healthy This Season

The season's have definitely been changing. Fall has set in with it's chillier mornings, cool winds and rain showers. But, it's not just fall and the upcoming winter season that we're all experiencing. We've also moved into cold and flu season.

Whether you're one that believes in the value of a flu shot this year or not, getting sick when you're pregnant is no fun. Not only do you feel miserable, you're limited as to what medications you can take and your baby could be at risk, too.

To help you stay healthy this season, here are some simple tips that you can put into practice right away.

1. Wash your hands! Frequent hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs. Pick up a travel size container of hand sanitizer to keep in your purse, diaper bag, or in the car, too. In the event that soap and water isn't available, you'll still be able to keep germ free!

2. Quit touching your face! You'd really be surprised how many times you touch your face each day. Since viruses have to enter your system through your mouth or nose, touching your face is an easy way to accidentally introduce them to your system. Unless you're eating or bathing, try to stick with a hands-off approach throughout the day.

3. Gargle with salt water. This is a simple and inexpensive yet very powerful preventive method. After initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity, viruses typically take a couple days to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling twice a day can prevent this.

4. Cleanse your sinuses daily. This is the same concept as the gargling tip above but needs only to be done once a day. You can use a simple saline spray found at most drugstores or use a neti pot. If the thought of water up your nose is something you can't bear, simply blow your nose hard once a day and follow it up by swabbing both nostrils with a cotton swab dipped in warm salt water.

5. Get plenty of vitamin C. During fall and winter, it's easy to fall short of adequate vitamin C levels. Pick up some oranges or grapefruit at the store to boost your daily intake. Check with your doctor/pharmacist to determine if taking a vitamin C supplement is right for you, too. They come in a variety of forms from tablets to powders that can easily be added to tea or water.

6. Drink plenty of warm liquids. Just as gargling prevents proliferation of viruses in your throat, so does drinking warm liquids such as tea, coffee, broth, etc. The warm liquids wash proliferating viruses away and into the stomach where they cannot survive or do harm. Plus, it's a good excuse to take a few minutes for yourself while you sip away!

7. Get some sleep! Sleep is so critical to our health but an area that we often overlook. Be sure you're getting plenty so that your body is well rested and healthy.

8. Eat a healthy diet. We're all busy but steer clear of processed foods that provide little to no nutritional value. Keep healthy snacks such as dried fruits and whole grain crackers nearby and be sure to eat plenty of veggies, too.

9. Hydrate! Just because it's not 90 degrees outside doesn't mean that you don't have to keep properly hydrated. Continue to keep that water bottle close at hand.

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