Flu season is here, and the only things more infectious than the assorted flu viruses are the myths that surround them. While those who unintentionally spread the fake flu facts are doing so with the best intentions in mind, what they say often overshadows what people really need to know about the flu.
We’re here to set the record straight. When it comes to the flu, it’s important to know fact from fiction.
Myth 1: Vomiting and other stomach issues are flu symptoms.
What is commonly referred to as the stomach flu isn’t the flu at all. It’s actually gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It’s usually caused by a virus, but can also be brought on by bacteria. The real flu, or influenza, rarely causes stomach problems.
Myth 2: Flu shots give you the flu.
Neither the vaccine administered with a needle nor the nasal spray vaccine will give you the flu. Vaccines administered through needle either have “inactivated” flu viruses or contain no flu viruses at all. The nasal spray does contain live viruses, but they have been weakened and cannot cause infection. Side effects of the flu vaccine can include low-grade fever, soreness at injection site, aches, runny nose and cough.
We’re incredibly close to spring, but that does not mean that cold and flu season is gone just yet. Here’s a list of delicious foods that also help strengthen the immune system and stave off germs and illness. Because you should not have to sacrifice your taste buds to stay healthy and eat well.
This superfood, which is made of ground sesame seeds, is most often used as a paste. Tahini can be used as a dip and it’s also added to other foods—including hummus and baba ghanoush—to enhance flavor. Yes, it is high in calories but sticking to two tablespoons a day is just fine, especially considering the high amount of magnesium and zinc which are both important for building a stronger immune system.
Winter brings a lot of things: holidays, snow, chilly temperatures and, unfortunately, cold and flu season. The pesky viruses behind these ailments can make you feel miserable and really put a damper on your beginning-of-the-year plans.
When you come down with a case of the sniffles, develop a cough, or feel achey all over it can be hard to figure out if you have a cold, the flu, or something else entirely. We’ve broken down the facts about this season’s bugs to help keep you healthy.
By Team Best Life
For every day of good health you enjoy, you can thank your immune system. Adequate sleep (7 to 8 hours per night), regular exercise, and well-managed stress all contribute to boosting your immune system. In addition, what you eat has a direct effect on how well your body defends itself from microbes and other disease-causing foreigners. And the best foods have plenty of these nutrients.
What it does: Once converted from beta-carotene in the body, vitamin A helps develop defensive T-cells that protect you from foreign bacteria and viruses.
Where to find it: Beta-carotene-rich foods (look for orange), such as cantaloupe, carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Also, leafy greens like collard, kale, mustard, and spinach.
What it does: It stimulates the production of immune cells such as neutrophils, which attack bacteria and viruses while protecting these cells from free radical damage.
Where to find it: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, sweet red pepper, tomato. (more…)
Anyone who has been sick with the flu knows that the best thing to do is stay in bed and rest. When your muscles are aching and your fever is high, a lot of downtime is always the best medicine.
The following are a few extremely gentle yogic practices you can do from the comfort of your own bed when you are not feeling well. Each technique will help ease the pain and agony of having the flu this winter, and help you get some much needed, high-quality rest.
Nidra, in Sanskrit, means sleep. Especially when you are bedbound, practicing a little yoga nidra will help your body relax and get your mind off of how horrible you feel. (more…)
I am often asked if it is appropriate to practice yoga when sick with a cold or some sort of energy-zapping bug. Some experts are convinced that rest is the best medicine when not feeling well, but practicing a little bit of yoga when you are sick can be beneficial.
The following is an explanation of why yoga can help restore your health while you are fighting an illness.
Yoga stimulates the immune system by flushing swollen lymph nodes and circulating white blood cells throughout the body. Gentle inversions such as downward dog help to create a small amount of pressure on the lymphatic system so fluids can flow freely and help the body fight infection.
The key point to remember is that too much yoga is not going to be beneficial. The body uses a lot of energy when it is sick, and stealing some of that energy so you can do a full yoga practice is not advised. Practice just a few poses, and make sure you have a lot of time to rest in between each pose. If your body is telling you to stop, honor its request and take a break. (more…)
One of my favorite things to do when I’m sick is take a long, hot shower without the bathroom fan on. A hot shower can loosen muscles, relax the mind and clear congestion. New research is suggesting that steam inhalation may do more than loosen mucous and congested sinuses, it could actually provide a cure for the common cold.
Most colds are caused by the rhinovirus which is rendered inactive at temperatures above 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Logically, one can assume that steam treatments, which raise the temperature in the nose to the required 109 degrees, would kill any rhinovirus that is present. There are some studies that back up that logic but, unfortunately, the results are mixed. Only three out of six studies showed supporting evidence that steam inhalation can cure colds. According to The New York Times, the remaining three studies “found either a worsening of symptoms or no change at all in antibody levels or shedding of viruses.”
The flu and colds are caused by viruses and are somewhat impossible to avoid due to constant human contact. This type of illness is so common during the winter months because the body is busy trying to keep itself warm. The immune system isn’t as strong, thus becoming more susceptible to infection and viruses. Frequent hand washing, keeping hands away from face and mouth, and avoiding contact with those who are infected are the safest ways to escape the illness.
Exercise, on the other hand, has been proven to improve normal body functioning as well as improving sleep patterns- both of which are vital to boost the immune system. By consistently exercising, your stamina and strong body will be able to fight off the viruses better and faster. Exercising too much can have the adverse affects by weakening the body and allowing it to be more prone to sickness. Exercising after you become sick is unlikely to change the course of the illness as well. Below are the best ways to help prevent becoming ill during this winter season.
I am not a fan of cold weather in general. I wear layers – I mean two pairs of pants – at least December through February and often longer. Yet, I discovered last year that I really enjoy winter running, maybe even more than running in the summer. Running in falling snow is beautiful and peaceful. Since your body is working more while jogging, I’ve found I am more warm than when I walk the dog wearing more layers and heavy clothing. My friend just purchased some Lululemon gear he says is extremely warm; I would love to review it for you, but it is outside my price range. Luckily, it should cost very little to outfit yourself to run all winter long.
The best place to start with any running list is the shoes. I wear regular running shoes. You will just want to ensure that they have sufficient support and traction as you will likely be running on slick or uneven ground. If you run with your dog, you may want to leave him or her at home unless they are well-trained or unable to pull you, or you may end up being pulled off your path due to the slick snow or ice. I have run a 5k with a Great Dane, but he outweighs me and is too excitable for more than winter walks.
Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.
As we approach the winter season many of us are finding ourselves battling annoying coughs, sniffles and runny noses. Sickness can often sideline our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. As tempting as it may be to wallow and indulge, your best bet is to stay the course while limiting your fitness routine, being mindful not to compromise your journey on the road to recovery. (more…)
Think about the people in your life — who gets sick more often and more severely and who doesn’t? New research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says that chances are, those who seem to always avoid colds or only suffer symptoms for a short blip are fitter than those who don’t.
Researchers looked at 1,000 adults’ respiratory health for 12 weeks during the autumn and winter of 2008. They also looked at the subjects self-reported data on how frequently they participated in aerobic exercise, their fitness level, what their lifestyle was like, what foods they ate and any recent stressful events, as all can affect the immune system. As you might imagine, the overall number of days of cold symptoms was different in winter and autumn — in winter the subjects had an average of 13 days of cold symptoms and 18 days in the fall. (more…)