Welcome Back (To Germs)!
It’s back to school time, which means it’s time to mix kids – big or small, healthy or ill. When kids mix, count on germs to fly. Before you know it, everyone, including you, has a nasty head cold and a hacking cough that just won’t quit. There are more than 200 viruses that cause colds and flu, and the time to lessen your chances of getting one begins right now.
While it is virtually impossible to completely prevent a cold, you can improve your chances if you stay as healthy as you can. A healthy lifestyle helps to keep your immune system in shape. Start by eating a nutritious diet of whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, plant oils, and lean proteins. Adequate hydration is also part of a healthy diet, and regular exercise with enough sleep enhances immunity too.
Probiotic supplements may be a factor in building strong immune system. Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, keep the beneficial bacteria living in your gut in the correct balance. The immune system’s fight against pathogens starts in your digestive tract, where the helpful bacteria activate immune cells to ward off disease all throughout the body. There is some evidence that certain probiotics may help prevent upper respiratory infections in children and young adults. Probiotics are generally safe and are worth a try for the extra peace of mind. Studies have shown that probiotic strain BB-12®, used in Vidazorb® products, may be an effective means to improve immune function.
Because colds spread from person to person through tiny droplets of mucus in the air and upon contaminated surfaces, good hygiene is crucial for prevention of colds. To get a head up, practice these hygiene-habits now to prevent colds when the kid mix:
1. Wash your hands.
After touching a surface in a public area or shaking someone’s hand, wash your hands as soon as possible with soap and water to whisk away the germs. Use a sanitizing gel or alcohol-based hand-wipe when soap and water is unavailable.
2. Avoid touching your face.
Cold viruses enter through your nose, mouth and eyes, and so keep your hands away from those areas. Don’t bite your fingernails!
3. Sanitize surfaces.
With soap and water or a disinfectant cleaner, wipe the germs away from door knobs, light switches, remote controls, keyboards, sinks and countertops, toys, and other common objects once or more each day.
4. Keep your immunizations up to date.
Medical experts recommend an annual flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months. It’s especially important for children, pregnant women, adults over age 50, and anyone with a chronic medical condition. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a Lactobacillus probiotic seemed to improve the immune system’s response following a flu vaccination.
5. Stay warm.
Being cold taxes the immune system. Dress for the weather to prevent the cold virus from gaining a foothold.
6. Control stress.
Stressful living challenges the immune system, and transitioning to the school year is stressful in and of itself. By all means, do whatever you can to make sure your immune system is in good condition and ready to fight infection before it occurs.
Best wishes for a healthy and happy school year!