Swine Flu, or the 2009 H1N1 virus, has been making headlines recently. It is a new flu virus strain that has been declared a pandemic. Swine flu is actually the H1N1 strain that is a combination of swine, avian and human influenza strains. It first made an appearance in the spring of 2009 in Mexico. The number of infected has exploded since then with both the northern and southern hemisphere reporting infections and deaths. As fall approaches, a small but significant portion of the dead are children and adolescents which is typical for most seasonal flu outbreaks. Fortunately, for now, the swine flu virus does not seen to be any worse than the normal seasonal flu. Those who have contracted swine flu had mild to moderate cases. Those who have died had pre-existing conditions that made their immune systems weak-this includes the young. Currently, there is an approved vaccine being administered to health care workers.
The best way to prevent getting swine flu is to practice sound prevention techniques and eat a healthy immune boosting diet. Whether you are trying to prevent any flu or just want to feel great, it is important to eat a well balanced nutrient rich diet. Eating this way all of the time will keep your immune system strong, and you be able to fight off many of the bacteria and viruses you might contract. To prevent getting a flu virus, follow these guidelines to keep yourself healthy.
–Consume adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables.
–Eat a variety of probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir and greek yogurt. These are powerhouse nutrients for the immune system. Probiotics are good bacteria that not only keep the digestive system healthy but also kill bad bacteria that may enter into it. Look for “live active cultures” and the probiotic “Lactobacillus reuteri” on the label of most yogurts and kefir. Lactobacillus reuteri is clinically proven to stimulate white blood cell production, which then fight off harmful germs.
–Consume adequate amounts of garlic especially when you begin to feel under the weather. Garlic has antibiotic properties and consuming it can be just as effective as antibiotic drugs.
–Drink black tea (choose decaffeinated). Tea contains a compound called interferon which fights viruses. Drinking black tea everyday can significantly reduce the risk of getting any virus including swine flu.
–Exercise 3-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Physical activity strengthens the immune system as much as what you eat. People who exercise regularly report having fewer colds and those colds are less severe. Walking is a great activity that needs no special equipment and can be done anywhere.
There are also other practical ways of avoiding swine flu and other seasonal viruses.
–Wash your hands. This is the single most important thing you can do to prevent getting any sickness. Use very warm water to hot and rub with soap for at least 20 seconds. Avoid using antibacterial soaps because they can produce antibiotic resistant microorganisms.
–Cover your mouth with your arm when you sneeze. Don’t sneeze and cough into your hands. This will just spread germs since you will touch services that someone else will touch, and transmit the germs already on your hands into your body.
–Keep your distance from people who are sick. Sneezing and coughing without covering your mouth properly will transmit cold and flu viruses to the nearest host.
Follow these simple recommendations and you will help protect yourself against swine flu.
Prevention.com, 9 power foods that boost immunity, http://www.prevention.com/flu_immunity/index.html, Accessed on October 13, 2009