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4 Quick and Easy Tips to Prevent the Common Cold and Flu

With flu season in full effect, it is crucial to remind yourself of the best ways to prevent the flu from striking.  Whether you're caring for yourself, for a family member, or for one of your patients as a nurse, it is important to take these preventative measures on a daily basis.  If you're a working professional and you feel like you're too busy to live a healthy lifestyle, at least read these four tips to start (we know you don't have time for 5)!  Making these four adjustments in your life could actually reduce your chances of coming down with the dreaded, nasty cold.

1.  Drink plenty of fluids

Mom was right when she told you to drink plenty of fluids--not just while you're sick, but before you get sick!  Water makes up 60 to 70 percent of the human body. It is important to stay constantly hydrated, as water helps the systems in your body function properly.  Water not only flushes out toxins while you're healthy; it also loosens any mucus that might have built up in your body.  If you're currently enrolled in any type of nursing degree program and or you're already working with patients in a hospital setting, be sure to pay attention to your patients for signs of dehydration.  Things to look for are sunken eyes, excessive tiredness, and dry mouth.  Stay alert and ask your patient how they're feeling to gauge how hydrated they are.

2.  Increase your yogurt intake

According to research, eating a serving of yogurt on a daily basis can actually build up your immunity to the common cold and flu.  The substances in your immune system that fight disease are stimulated by bacteria that is found in yogurt.  Before you get sick, start incorporating yogurt into your diet to "dig your well before you're thirsty."

3.  Practice yoga

Practicing yoga is no doubt beneficial to your mind and body, but what can it do for your immune system?  While performing yoga poses and calming your breathing, you are stimulating the flow of oxygen throughout your body.  The internal organs are massaged and rejuvenated through various poses, improving your circulation throughout your body.  When you stimulate your thymus gland, you are actually stimulating the locus of your body's immune system.  This gland is responsible for producing T-Cells, which act as the army against any disease that tries to enter your body.  Who knew that specialized stretching like yoga could cause this chain of events that ultimately have a hand in preventing sickness?

4.  Get a good night's sleep

According to an interview with Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine, people who sleep less than seven hours per night are three times more likely to come down with the common cold--compared to someone who got eight of more hours of sleep.  Sleep allows your cells to repair themselves, so give the cells some down-time by getting into bed a bit earlier!



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