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6 tips to avoid the Flu this season

Every year people line up for a flu shot in hopes that it will help prevent them from getting the flu or in the frequent case that they still get the flu they hope it will speed up their recovery.  While deciding to get a flu shot is often a hotly debated topic, I will save that conversation for the office water cooler.  People who want to avoid the flu can use these 6 tips to avoid the Flu this season,  regardless of whether or not you received a flu shot.

1. Stay hydrated.  Most people are chronically dehydrated, not to the point of passing out, but routinely only consuming about 30-50% of their daily requirement of water.  Sugary soft drinks and coffee do contain water but they are no substitute for clean filtered water. Make sure you are consuming at least 60-80 ounces of water each day.

2. Maintain proper sleep.  Most people would benefit from 8 hours of sleep each night, some people need a little more and some people need a little less.  If you constantly find yourself staying up late and getting up early this can take it’s toll on your health.  Making sure you are getting plenty of rest  allows your body to heal and repair from the day to day stress you put yourself through.

3. Eat extra fruit and vegetables.  One great way to make sure you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet is fill up a bowl of veggies at each meal and eat all of it before you start to eat the protein and carbs.  This way you if you get full before you finish your meal you will ensure you are consuming an adequate amount of vegetables or fruit.

4. Decrease sugar and alcohol consumption.  Often the holiday season means indulging and overindulging in a few extra pieces of dessert or an extra glass of your favorite libation.  Sugar and alcohol can have an impact on decreasing your immune system function.  When your immune system is not working optimally it opens the door for the common cold or flu to wipe you out.

5. Exercise regularly.  Our body was designed to move and move often.  Making a point to increase your heart rate and exercise for 20 minutes three times per week is a great way to decrease stress and increase health.  We live in a society that a majority of people find themselves behind a desk or computer for 40+ hours a week and to top it all off we come home at the end of the day and sit on the couch of another 2-6 hours watching television.  Get out and get some exercise, you will be glad you did.

6. Wash your hands frequently.  While it is impossible to completely avoid coming into contact with bacteria and viruses throughout the course of a normal day it is smart to wash your hands often.  Most people don’t realize how often they touch their hands to their face or mouth during the day.  Quickly running your hands under water isn’t enough, you really need to lather up with soap and rub vigorously for 20-30 seconds before you rinse off the soap.

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