Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits - Flu Season

What's the best defense against getting sick?  Proper hand washing, but according to a new survey, 57 percent of Americans wash for a mere 5-15 seconds.  To clock at least 20 seconds, as recommended by the CDC, sing "Happy Birthday" twice.  A hand sanitizer containing alcohol is fine in a pinch, but soap and water are ideal.  Wash hands often and keep hands away from your face.


Disinfect surfaces.  The average desk is host to 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat...the phone, chair armrests and computer keyboard are the worst offenders according to research from San Diego State University and University of Arizona.  Run a disinfectant wipe across surfaces at least weekly.

Eat your greens.  The antioxidants boost your resistance to viral infections.  Aim for at least 2 serving of greens a day.


Get enough rest.  Clocking less than seven hours a night makes you three times more likely to catch a cold than if you get eight hours or more.

Moderate exercise helps boost immunity by increasing the movement of immune cells, which seek and destroy viruses, but if your sweat session is long or intense, your risk of catching something, for up to 72 hours afterward, is as much as six times greater.

To run or not to run? David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the "neck rule." Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don't pose a risk to runners continuing workouts. 

Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs. 

If you're still in doubt about whether it's safe to run or not, take your temperature. If it's above 99 degrees, skip your run. "Some people think that they can 'sweat out' a fever by running," says Nieman. "That's wrong. Running won't help your immune system fight the fever."

(Women's Health, Runner's World, Shape)

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  1. People look at me funny when I sing happy birthday in the bathroom

  2. Since starting to drink green smoothies over a year ago, I've noticed that my immunity is definitely higher. Now if I could only get my kids to remember more hand washing!


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