Staying Healthy in Flu Season

Oct 30,2013

A couple of weeks ago I did the English translation for a Torimo supplement that announced the incoming flu season and special care that should be taken to avoid infection and avoid spreading infection. Since that time many of the people I know have fallen ill, including more than half of my friends in the Tottori area.

The mobile telephone bulletin advised washing hands and gargling on returning home as preventative measures, but I'm going to go out on a bit of limb here and offer what I believe to be effective. I can't, of course, actually recommend that people do as I've done, as I'm not any kind of health professional, but I can express what has worked for me (and, as I'm hard pressed as always to find anything worth saying on this blog, I shall). Hypothetical readers are welcome to scan the great interweb for information that might agree or disagree with my position.

In no particular order:

1. Drink plenty of water. I believe the gargling thing was advised because so many people neglect hydration. Plenty of people I know are in that category. I know some people who hardly drink water at all, and I believe this to be a mistake. Dehydration leads to bad breath and headaches, and it deprives your body of a means to flush itself of impurities and just keep things generally flowing. In my case, gargling would be pointless because any bacteria that might have built up in my mouth would have already been washed through me.

2. Get enough sleep. It's important, and most people don't. There is a lot of ignorant notions around here that nationality is as much a determining factor in human sleep requirements as age or activity level, but let's put that aside for a moment. My hypothesis is that your body will sleep until it has had enough, unless otherwise disturbed. Finding out whether or not you're sleep deprived is blatantly easy: Ask yourself whether you use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. If you use one, you're sleep deprived.

3. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. And garlic. Articles in the media like to pick out specific properties of whole foods--Vitamin C, antioxidants, beta carotene--and report them as having unique individual curative or protective properties. The media report new discoveries, and they like controversy. It is my opinion that the nutrients of fruits and vegetables have to be taken as part of the entire food, not in the form of pills or specific supplements. Nutrients occuring naturally as part of a plant help the animal absorb the other ones. Eat less processed instant stuff and more stuff that grows in the ground. (Garlic is supposed to be particularly good for preventing colds, but again, each of us has to do our own research.)

4. Avoid stress. Stress weakens the immune system; I don't believe there is any longer any controvery about this. It won't be possible for a great many people, but there are ways to try, and any effort would be better than none. Enough said.

5. Shower in cold water instead of warm or hot. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works on the principle of hormesis, or applying small amounts of stressors to toughen up the body's overall defenses. Unpleasant, yes, but I believe the benefits outweigh the momentary discomfort.

That's all from me right now. In the meantime, I hope everyone stays happy and healthy, whatever particular method you may choose.

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