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Avoid flu, stick to winter-wellness routine

Published On: Dec 17 2012 03:01:55 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 09:40:40 AM CST
Cold or flu?

ŠiStockphoto.com/(MsSponge)

(NewsUSA) - Most of us can't survive the winter without falling prey to at least one virus, infection or zealous set of cold germs. The phrase "winter wellness" sometimes seems like an oxymoron.

After all, staying indoors in a closed air system makes people more susceptible to certain germs. Winter's affection for cold, dry air means germs will stay airborne longer. Just like adding layers of hats and scarves, we must add layers of immune support to bolster our defenses.

For many families, the flu vaccine is a viable option, but don't take any chances. Fortify your body's immune system by making smart dietary choices, too.

To keep your family healthy through the winter cold/flu season, use the following advice to keep the sniffles at bay.

Keep vitamins, minerals and supplements on hand.

In addition to vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and fish oil are all proven to strengthen immunity. If natural herbs and roots aren't cutting it, use reliable flu medicine like products.

Stock kitchen with immune-system boosters.

A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to help the body fend off illness, but you have to know what you're looking for. Green tea helps fight viruses, especially if combined with anti-inflammatories like ginger. The more vitamin C, the merrier, so get your daily serving(s) of orange juice. Add cashews for healthy fats and extra antioxidants. Other edible flu-fighters include mushrooms, red peppers, sweet potatoes, garlic, whole grains and beans.

Common sense is king.

Common sense rules for hygiene are twice as important during cold weather. Be extra diligent about the basics -- i.e., cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and carefully wash your hands often. Remember, the more tired or worn out you feel, the longer your immune system will take to respond. So, get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water.