When cold and flu season hits (like during the peak of winter), parents everywhere look for ways to keep their family safe and healthy.
You can liken it to dodging hidden mines on a battlefield: cold and flu bugs are lurking all around just waiting for the right target to infect and spread it to other people they come in contact with.
In fact, according to Health Canada, anywhere from 10 to 25% of the population will get the flu this year. It is reported that 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized due to flu-like illnesses every year, with children under 5 years, seniors over 65 years, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions like asthma being the most at risk groups.
As for colds, most adults end up getting an average of two to three each year, with most occurring in the winter and spring. Viruses don’t discriminate which season they’ll pop up in, and these little nasties hide everywhere. After all, you can’t see them, but you sure can feel their effects when they’ve invaded your body!
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family this cold and flu season:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS. This one should go without saying, but it does bear reminding… teach your children to wash their hands using warm water, soap, and scrub for twenty full seconds.
Why? Cold and flu viruses like to hang out for hours on all types of hard surfaces like doorknobs, phones, water faucets, money, and of course – our hands.
Just touch one of those items or shaking an infected person’s hand and voila – the germs have hitched a ride onto your hand, or your child’s hand.
Then, if you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, the germs have an open window into your body.
So, have everyone wash their hands before eating or drinking, handling food or clean dishes, and after using the bathroom, coughing, or sneezing – even if it was into a tissue.
2. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Stay away from people who are sick, coughing, and sneezing.
Flu and cold viruses spread easily from person to person, and if you or your children are nearby, you’re more likely to come in contact with the germs and get sick yourself.
Likewise, if you do get sick, stay home and prevent it from spreading even further throughout your workplace or at your regular community or social gatherings.
3. BUILD A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM. Practice, teach and encourage healthy lifestyle habits such as:
- Getting enough sleep. That’s something most people simply don’t get enough of.
According to Stats Canada, more than half of all adults report not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Also, about one-third sleep fewer hours per night than recommended for optimal physical and mental health. 
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amount of sleep for different age groups:
|Age Range||Hours of Recommended Sleep|
|0 to 3 months||14 to 17|
|4 to 11 months||12 to 15|
|1 to 2 years||11 to 14|
|3 to 5 years||10 to 13|
|6 to 13 years||9 to 11|
|14 to 17 years||8 to 10|
|18 to 64 years||7 to 9|
|65 years and older||7 to 8|
Adequate sleep helps promote a healthy immune system and is needed to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Make sure you and your children are well rested on a regular basis.
- Be active and engage in regular moderate exercise. Intense exercise regime not required! Go for a brisk walk, take your kids swimming, or attend a family exercise class.
Just move your body. Regular exercise promotes better circulation, general good health, and a strong immune system.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and adequate protein from lean, high-quality sources.
Choose foods high in immune supporting nutrients: antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E help fight infections and can be found in all kinds of colorful produce like citrus fruit, spinach, broccoli, carrots, berries, and sweet potatoes to name a few.
Did you know that Orange Naturals’ MagPop! has a hefty dose of highly absorbable Vitamin C in it?
Choose fruits and vegetables with lots of color like reds, oranges, and greens. Vitamin B6 is vital to many body functions, including a healthy immune system. You can find it in fish, poultry, beef and starchy vegetables.
Other immune supporting nutrients are the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, protein, and probiotics.
Choose foods like lean grass-fed meats and deep green leafy vegetables for iron, and seafood, eggs + grains for selenium.
Zinc can be found in meat, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Also, natural yogurt with live cultures is a good source of immune- and gut-supporting probiotics.
4. CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTATION. While getting key nutrients from your food is always preferable, there are times you may feel your diet isn’t meeting your or your family’s needs.
A well-rounded multivitamin can help ensure you and your family have an adequate intake of immune supporting nutrients. Vitamin D and zinc can be helpful as well. Always check with your ND to ensure you are taking the best combination of supplements for your needs.
Listen up Moms and Dads…you can help your family stay healthy this cold and flu season by teaching and encouraging your children to practice healthy lifestyle habits.
You’re a great example to them by getting enough sleep, washing your hands properly, exercising daily, and eating a healthy diet. If you’re covering these bases, you and your children will be better protected from the annual attacks of those nasty cold and flu bugs!
5. RECOVER FASTER TO SLOW THE SPREAD. It makes sense that if you’re the sick one in the family, a speedier recovery means not only getting back on your feet faster but that the virus has also hit the road — so much less chance of spreading it to other family members!
Rest, fluids, healthy whole foods and extra supplementation is your recipe for recovery.
From the Orange Naturals family to yours
Sources and referenced content:
 Stats Canada: “Duration and Quality of Sleep Among Canadians Aged 18-79” study http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2017009/article/54857-eng.htm
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