A-choo! Cold and flu season is around the corner again, let me share some simple and natural tips you can use to stay healthy this year.

Hand washing-30 seconds of hot water and soap before and after eating, on arrivals, before cooking, after the restroom and after contact with others. A 2007 study from the Mayo Clinic showed use of antibacterials increased bacteria resistance, making the bacteria more difficult to eliminate later.

Vitamins-it is ideal to get our nutrients from our food, but stress and illness cause our body to use nutrients quickly and we must replenish more often. At a minimum a high quality multi-vitamin and essential fatty acids are recommended. Sesame seed oil is a great immune booster. It builds platelet cells associated with functions of B (fighter) cells in our immune system.

Low Sugar Diet-Refined sugars, in high doses overwork your pancreas and liver which in turn stresses the immune system. The immune system is already struggling during illness so a high sugar diet further stresses the system. It is advisable to limit refined sugars and eliminate at the first sign of illness.

Sleep-Studies reported by Time Magazine in 2008 concluded that 6.5-8 hours of sleep each night is ideal. Health Magazine’s research from January 2009 revealed that people who lose sleep are more susceptible to getting a cold.

Fluids-keeping hydrated during illness loosens mucus and prevents dehydration, a potentially dangerous outcome of cold or flu. Additionally you can take Epsom salt baths to aid in hydration, ease muscle aches and calm yourself before sleep.

Fresh linens and towels-It is easy to ignore housework when sick, but a clean home can make all the difference in fighting off germs. Pick up extra sets of sheets and towels for the season. When sick, change the sheets more regularly and use a new towel everyday. Do the laundry once you feel better with hot water and white vinegar.

These are some easy first steps to keep those sneezes to a minimum, but you can always go further. Explore homeopathic remedies as an alternative to medicines. I’s always easy to reduce your chance of sickness and live naturally.

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