How to arm yourself (and your diet) for flu season

Apparently the experts still don’t fully understand why the flu season peaks in winter. (They don’t even know why we have a flu season!) However, possible theories include the following:

  • Increased time spent indoors and on transit with closed windows and shared air.
  • Weakened immune systems given increased darkness and cold outdoor temperatures.
  • The laws of thermodynamics: colder, drier climate and the launch of Starbuck’s latest holiday drinks in winter allow the flu virus to thrive versus in the heat and humidity and lack of holiday drinks in summer.

Okay, I lie. Your Peppermint Mocha doesn’t play a role in the existence of the flu season. It doesn’t even arm you against it. (Although that fact shouldn’t stop you from drinking it.) Here’s how to combat the mysterious flu season and rise above your classmates, vomit-, ache- and fever-free during the winter months.

How to arm yourself (and your diet) for flu season

Suck it up and vaccinate

Needles are scary, I get it. So are world politics, job interviews, first dates and new roommates. Toughen up, friends, especially my younger, elderly, pregnant and asthma, respiratory- or cardiovascular disease-ridden friends. The flu shot is available at pharmacies, clinics, on campus or in workplaces. That said there are folks out there with severe allergies to the vaccine or its ingredients—even an allergy to eggs could prove a problem. If you think this is your case, consult with a doctor beforehand.

Wash those hands and hack into your elbow

It’s a waste of time, right? It doesn’t make a difference, right? Who can really tell, right? Well, wait into your buried under a pile of dirty tissues and incapable of holding down more than unbuttered toast. Laver up, baby, and run your hands under warm water for fifteen-seconds as regularly as possible. As for your coughs, nobody wants those. Not even your hands. Cough into your elbow, a tissue or the face of your worst enemy.

Leave your barfy friends to suffer alone

Compassion and empathy are beautiful things. However, when your best friend is bent over the toilet, stay away. Send your love and support via Facebook or Snapchat. While they’re sick, you don’t need their company or their flu. Let the hangouts resume after the recovery. Likewise, if you’re the barfy friend. Your friends and colleagues like the healthy you. Don’t bother them until you’re not contiguous.

Eat all the sweet potatoes

When it comes to prepping your diet against the flu, immune-boosting eats are key. We’re talking Vitamin A-, C- and E-rich foods. Pack your diet (before the sickness strikes) with such flu fighters as sweet potatoes, garlic, red peppers, carrots, almonds, salmon, mushrooms and even dark chocolate. And, yes, it’s not some urban myth: chicken noodle soup is good for the (flu-avoiding) soul.

And drink all the ginger

When it comes to beverages, load up on the tea and water. Take a page from traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, combining boiling water with ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground coriander and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger. For something a little less harsh in taste, take fresh ginger root and slice off the rough exterior, cut into ¼-inch slices, place in a mug and top with hot water, a squeeze of lemon and drop of honey. And while chicken noodle soup does the job, don’t neglect the benefits other broths for a savoury drink.