When school resumed my official flu and virus tally begins. Just yesterday I learned of two more households that have succumb to a new strain of the bug. Place a bunch of youngsters back into close proximity and it's inevitable. Someone is going to share a bug. Here are some quick thoughts on keeping you and your household out of harm's way.
- There are always going to be bugs floating around. That means 365 days a year. It's the return to close proximity that triggers the spread.
- If you are a healthcare worker you are probably required to have a flu shot. This isn't necessarily for your wellbeing but for those who are immune-compromised you come in contact with while performing your job.
- Sleep - Your immune system recharges with adequate sleep. It's a good time of year to have a sleep challenge. How much more productive and healthy would you be if you logged 8-9 hours of sleep each night? (More on this later)
- Maintain an adequate caloric intake that meets your protein, fat, AND carbohydrate. When you monkey around with New Years' dietary resolutions, you place a new stressor on your system.
-Stay well hydrated. Drink some electrolytes. Cooler temps can potentially reduce our thirst mechanism. Dehydration is a stressor. Keep the fluids flowing.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol disrupts sleep and as stated previously sleep is critical.
- Consider supplementing with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc. If you catch a bug these won't help but there is some evidence to suggest that they will reduce your odds of contracting one, especially if you have holes in your nutrition game. No megadosing!
- Wear a facial mask if traveling via plane, bus or shuttle. One sneeze is all it takes. People sneezing on you is their way of sharing a bug. Howdy neighbor.
- Fist bump instead of shaking hands. You might have good bathroom habits but...
- Become an expert at washing your hands. Other than sleep, this is possibly the best advice I can share. Practicing this three times per day will reduce your odds of contracting a bug by 25% (See below)
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth especially in high exposure environments and if you can not sanitize your hands.
-Monitor your training stress. Exercise training suppresses your immune system for around 30 minutes following exercise. Add this to other life stressors and the table is set. Gyms and gym equipment are also a perfect breeding ground to pass around viruses. Save the functional overreaching and developmental phases of training for the Spring and summer months.
If you come down with something realize that you'll be better in seven days to a week. If you have an infection above the neck you can probably exercise moderately. If your condition is below the neck then take a chill pill until your conditions improve.
And I speak for all of us when I say to please stay home and keep your bugs to yourself.