Stay healthy this cold and flu season with these simple habits

This time of year, temperatures aren’t the only things dropping. People drop left and right from the cold and flu. But you don’t have to be one of them!

I’m not going to write yet another article about washing hands. I think we all know how important it is to wash our hands and avoid touching our faces. And then wash our hands again for good measure. Instead, here are some off-the-beaten-path ways to make a real difference for your health this cold and flu season.

  1. Cool it with the sugar. White blood cells are the infection-fighting superheroes of our blood. But sugar can render them powerless. Sure, white blood cells can recover from an orgy of processed foods, but it can take several hours for this to happen. Your best bet is to avoid sugar and processed foods. Sadly, that includes leftover Halloween candy.
  2. Drink up. Staying hydrated can help you stay healthy. Water helps keep your immune system in tip-top shape by carrying oxygen to cells and hauling toxins out. That’s why drinking more fluids when you’re on the verge of getting sick can make a real difference – it’s like the street sweeper coming by more often.
  3. Boost your immune system. The right foods and supplements can act like armor against colds and flu. Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D and E can keep you feeling great, and zinc and selenium pack a punch, too. Consider adding dark leafy greens like kale to your lunch. You might also chow down on sweet potatoes – they’re the rock stars of vitamin A.
  4. BYO Everything. Who was the last person to use the pen at the bank? Was it that lady with the runny nose? Don’t learn the hard way – bring your own. Something as simple as cleaning the airplane tray table with an antibacterial wipe can save you from feeling crummy for days. You don’t have to go crazy – just consider what you’re touching.
  5. Embrace gadgets. Geeks rejoice! Cold and flu season gives you an excuse to use cool new toys. A humidifier can manage the moisture in your home and keep your sinuses happy. An essential oil diffuser can fill your space with anti-microbial essential oils like eucalyptus and lemongrass. And a Neti Pot can rinse unwelcome gunk from your sinuses.

If you do end up getting sick, there are several acupuncture points to speed up healing and bring relief. And targeted nutrition can make a difference, too. Citrus fruits, hot tea and – believe it or not – chicken soup can help.

Your best bet is still avoiding illness altogether. Be smart, treat yourself right and enjoy a winter of good health.

Article by Dr. Lynn McIntosh. Dr McIntosh is a board-certified chiropractor. In addition to being licensed to provide general chiropractic care, she is also a certified chiropractic sports physician, working with athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems. She’s also board-certified in acupuncture. Learn more at

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