H1N1 Virus – How to Protect Yourself
There’s been so much talk about the H1N1 virus in the media lately and a lot of the talk is about whether or not to get the vaccine. That is a personal choice and we advise you to get all the facts before making that decision. If you decide not to get the vaccine, here are some ways to keep yourself healthy and protected.
What is the best protection?
Of course you want to to avoid exposure to the virus at all costs, but that is not always easy. The most important thing to do is strengthen your immune system; this can help prevent you from getting sick if you are exposed to the virus. We want our body to be able to fight off the ill effects of the virus. It is best to start boosting the immune system while you’re still healthy and show no signs of the virus.
The means by which the virus enters your body is through the nostrils and mouth. Since we can’t prevent contact with the virus we can do something about proliferation. Below are some simple steps you can do…
9 Ways to Protect Yourself from the H1N1 Virus:
- WASH YOUR HANDS – you’ve probably heard this a million times by now but it is one of the best defenses to the virus. Viruses can live on surfaces for hours, even days. When washing your hands use soap and warm water. Wash your complete hand in a circular motion for about 30 seconds or longer. Sing the song “Happy Birthday” to yourself and that should be ample time. Dry your hands completely and if you’re in a public rest room use the paper towel to touch the door handle. If you don’t have access to a sink, then carry anti-bacterial wipes and/or gel with you.
- DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE – try not to touch your face, nose or rub your eyes. Prevent from putting objects in your mouth such as pens and fingers. Wash your hands or use an antibacterial gel before eating and/or snacking.
- KEEP YOUR NOSTRILS CLEAN – this is one that you’re probably not hearing much about in the news. But this is a very important step to do. The H1N1 virus takes 2-3 days after infection in the nostrils to proliferate and show signs of the infection. We recommend cleansing the nostrils daily. You can do this by using a Neti Pot, which is a nasal cleansing pot that can be purchased at health food stores and most drug stores, such as Walgreens. You add a saline solution (warm water and salt) to the pot and rinse the nostrils with it. This cleansing has so many benefits such as clearing the nostrils, removes excess mucus, relieves nasal dryness and reduces allergens. If you don’t have a pot or feel uncomfortable using one then you can blow your nose with force and then swab each nostril with cotton swabs dipped in warm water and salt. Do this daily.
- KEEP YOUR THROAT CLEAN – by gargling twice a day with either warm water and salt or Listerine. The throat is a point of entry for the virus so keeping it clean by gargling is a preventative method.
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- DRINK WARM LIQUIDS – drinking warm teas, broth and soups are important in flushing the proliferating viruses to the stomach where they can’t live or cause harm. Drink as much warm liquids as you can daily. One of the best warm liquids is chicken soup – no one really knows why but it works better than other soups.
- SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN D – (actually a pro-hormone) it promotes a strong and balanced immune system. If you’re unable to get 10-20 minutes of midday sun per day (without sunscreen) then you’ll need to take a Vitamin D supplement. Recent studies are showing people are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. It’s becoming a worldwide problem and many are suffering from bone fractures and a decline in overall health from not getting enough Vitamin D. Take about 1,000 – 1800 IU of Vitamin D daily. Vitamin D is made in the skin from sun exposure and the body will make 10,000 – 20,000 IU of vitamin D per day with sun exposure. Supplementing with 1,000 – 1,800 IU daily has no concerns with toxicity. The vitamin D that is made in the skin from the sun has a longer half-life in the body than it does when ingested from supplements. However, not everyone can get into the sun everyday so it is wise to supplement with Vitamin D.
- BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM – by taking a Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Supplement, Antioxidant Supplement and Fish Oil Supplement – DAILY! Make sure your multivitamin/mineral supplement contains Zinc. And always be sure that your supplements are pharmaceutical grade so that you know you are getting the proper dosages needed to really boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
- THE 3 S’s – STRESS, SLEEP and SUGAR – Stress has such a negative effect on the immune system and when your defenses are down you become more susceptible to viruses – it depletes vitamin C. So stop stressing yourself out and set physical and emotional limits and stick to them. A great way to alleviate stress is to laugh more. It has been proven that increased laughter will reduce stress and build a healthier immune system. Sleep is important to your health so get between 7 – 9 hours of a good night’s sleep every night. So many are sleep deprived which causes a rise in stress hormones and a weakened immune system. Sugar hampers the activity of white blood cells that kill off viruses. Limit the amount of refined sugar to 50 grams per day. A good refined sugar replacement is Agave Nectar. We’ll have more in depth articles in the near future on the “3 S’s, since they play a vital role in optimal health.