GERMS ARE COMING: Stock up on preventative medicines before the flu season really hits says Michelle Peden.
GERMS ARE COMING: Stock up on preventative medicines before the flu season really hits says Michelle Peden. Kari Bourne

Easy ways to keep the lurgies at bay

IT'S only weeks now until the cold and flu season will be in full swing and the germs will be ripe for the picking.


Not quite as exciting as the festive season but it can be just as expensive if you're not prepared for it. Preparing for the cold and flu season should be like preparing for Christmas.

You should be thinking about what you need and buying it before the dreaded houseguests arrive.

The first step in warding off the lurgies is stocking your cupboards, or your glovebox if you are always on the road, with your defence kit. I always recommend keeping on hand zinc and vitamins C and D as an absolute starting point. If you can afford it also add echinacea and andrographis to the list. My personal favourite (which we have stocked in the cupboard all year round and travel with if we are going overseas) is elderberry. This little herb is amazing. Did you know that it has been successfully clinically trialled against Influenza A and the Swine Flu? We'll talk in more detail about these in the next edition.

The next step in keeping the lurgies at bay is about timing. Most of us wait until we have a full-blown cold or flu before we do anything about it. But the trick is really hitting it when you first notice changes in the body - like at the first sign of sore throat or when your nose gets runny or even blocked on just one side. Getting in early can make the difference to how long you are sick, the severity of your sickness, time to recover and of course, the cost difference on your hip pocket.

The next three steps are all the same - sleep, sleep and sleep. Your body is programmed to do all its detoxification and repair when you are in a resting state. When you're up and about, rushing here, there and everywhere, stressing about work or your kids or finances, your body is busy making all those things happen for you. It doesn't have time to deal with your cold and flu. Which is why, once you get really sick your body shuts the systems down, focusing only on healing thus leaving you no choice but to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n .

It is more helpful to you and everyone around you to take a day off when you are starting to get sick, not waiting until you are on your death bed. You are usually the most contagious in those early stages when your eyes water, nose runs, your throat is sore. It is then that you should be staying home, not spreading the germs around. Don't try to be a martyr - the world will go on without you.

Preparing food for the cold and flu season is just as important as it is at Christmas, although the food choices should be a little different and do not need to be consumed all on the one day.

Nature is truly a wonderful thing. Plants that we need to eat at a particular time of year are the ones that just seem to be in season. Try eating foods high in vitamin C and flavonoids - these are your citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins, and the bright coloured vegetables. Also get into the foods high in zinc like eggs, beans, and meats like lamb and beef.

So this cold and flu season be prepared. Make sure you have your supplements ready to go. Ensure you follow the directions on the label and that you always seek professional advice before self-prescribing. And sleep.

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