I have long advocated the symbiotic relationship between body, mind, and spirit. When the health of one begins to falter the other two follow shortly after. For example when we feel physically ill we find it harder to think and our emotions begin to get the better of us. Thus it is important to keep our physical health up in order to maintain strength of mind and spirit. In light of flu season I think it is important to go over some essential tips on staying healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Stick to the Basics
Germs really like to stick around and it is very easy for them to spread. Typically people will cough or sneeze into their hands and then those hands will touch a door knob, an elevator button, or anything where someone else may come along and pick up the nasty germs left behind. Once she has picked up those germs she may rub her eyes, eat some food, or treat a cut. When that happens the germs enter into the body quite easily and the sickness spreads.
The easy solution to this is washing with soap and hot water scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. This should be done before you eat or prepare food and after you use the restroom. Many will suggest that hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative for those times in between restroom breaks when you make contact with others. It could be! However you will need to keep some things in mind first.
In order for sanitizer to work effectively at killing germs it has to have an alcohol content of at least 60%. Anything less just won’t cut it. Sanitizer isn’t really all that good for children either and can actually lower your child’s immunity. Some sanitizers use triclosan instead of alcohol. This is a chemical compound that that acts as an active ingredient in many pesticides. It is easily absorbed into the blood stream where it can lead to awful things like cancer and infertility.
Exercise Does a Body Good
Getting at least 30 minutes of activity in a day can help prevent and mitigate the effects of the flu. Exercise does this by helping your white blood cells to move faster and more efficiently throughout the body. It also has mental and emotional impact by releasing endorphins which create feelings of euphoria. In euphoric states the body is able to endure pain much more easily.
It is very important to note, though, that too much exercise can have a poor impact on the body’s fight against disease. Excessive exercise (two or three hours a day) can actually lead to a lowering of the immune system. Furthermore it will produce large amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone related to the body’s fight-or-flight system. This hormone can be linked to decreased immunity, weight gain, and cognitive function.
It’s a common misconception that the cold weather gets us sick. Yet it is also easy to see why we think so. Once winter hits we put plastic up over our windows and do our best to keep the cold winter air where it belongs — outside. The side effect of doing this is that the indoor air becomes stale and the perfect breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and viruses. They have nowhere else to go. Do yourself a favor and get outside this winter even if for a few minutes. Bundle up and enjoy that crisp air.
Have a Relationship With Your Doctor
By the header I don’t mean to get romantically involved with your doctor or even to invite yourself over to dinner parties. However I do mean that you need to find a doctor you’re comfortable with enough to share when things don’t feel right to you. When you have a doctor you know you can trust then you’ll always know that he is looking out for you when you come to see him. There are a lot of great ways to finding a doctor today. Sometimes you spend a while online, or you check the yellow pages, or you’ll ask a friend what doctor they see.
There’s a tool I like to use for this. It’s called Amino. When you go to the page and click “Find a Doctor” you’ll be asked a few easy questions — your condition or procedure, your age and gender, your location, how far you’re willing to travel, optionally who you are insured by, and preferred gender of your doctor. Use this link and Amino will then search and prioritize doctors according to the parameters you set. I was very accustomed to using United Healthcare’s provider finder, but it was often difficult to determine if specialists found dealt with the particular treatment I was looking for. I found Amino much easier to use and very user friendly.
This flu season remember to stay on top of things by keeping yourself clean, getting plenty of exercise, and getting out and enjoying the fresh air. Stay in touch with your doctor and when things get rough let him know what’s going. If you’ve done all this I’m certain you can look forward to a happy and healthy season.