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Cold and flu prevention this time of year becomes a very important health topic. The holiday season is nearing, family time has been scheduled, and work stress is growing as the end of the year approaches. What steps can you take to prevent or lessen the effects of the cold and flu?

Prevention:
1.    One of the most significant deterrents for cold and flu viruses is maintaining healthy hand washing routines while in public and when you return home. Keeps your hands away from your face and clean your cell phone regularly by following the manufacturer recommendation. 
2.    Maintain a healthy exercise regime. Keeping your exercise routine going can help decrease overall stress levels that occur this time of year. This will decrease your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can weaken the immune system and cause unwanted weight gain. 
3.    Most recent research indicates extra supplementation of popular vitamins (Vit C, Vit A, Zinc) will not prevent cold and flu illness. The best nutritional approach you can take to keeping your immune system strong is eating a healthy, balanced diet. This includes healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables. 

Lessen the effects of Cold/Flu:
1.    Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a common problem when people become ill and can make the symptoms worse. Try water or healthier rehydration drinks such as Pedialyte. Drinks like Gatorade are not really good for you. They contain high levels of sugar and have been seen to increase cavities more than soda! If nothing else is palatable, try 25% Gatorade and 75% water mixed together.
2.    Now you may try slightly higher doses of Vit C, Vit A, and Zinc. While these vitamins do not appear to prevent the onset of the cold and flu, they do appear to lessen the overall effects and perhaps decrease your overall down time.
3.    Try to get 8 hours of sleep and rest during the day. Sleep is a time where your body tries to recover from stress, exercise and illness. Do not neglect this important element in the healing process.

The Flu shot is a very common prophylactic treatment for the flu virus. It can be very helpful and should be discussed with your healthcare provider if you are elderly or immunocompromised. 

Remember, the holidays are a time to spend with your family and appreciate one another. Try to keep your stress levels down, stay healthy, happy holidays and happy New Years. 

Dr. Clint Dacus D.C.
True Balance Chiropractic & Physical Therapy

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