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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (We bet that song is stuck in your head now…oops.) The weather is finally cooling down, the holidays are among us (are you ready for the in-laws to come into town?), and the rich aroma of baked-with-love goodies fills the house. The holidays bring cozy days full of present wrapping, feast preparing, and pajama snuggling—but on a not-so-pleasant note, it also brings the dreaded flu season. In addition to getting an annual flu shot, dealing with the flu can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest (something we care a great deal about at the Pasha Snoring & Sinus Center). We’ve got seven tips to help you spend more time sipping on hot chocolate and making cookies this year and less time miserably dealing with the terrible flu.

  1. Stock up on oranges…but ditch the orange juice. Oranges are high in vitamin C, which is known for its ability to boost the immune system, but the sugar found in orange juice can do just the opposite—it can suppress the immune system. Eat plenty of foods high in vitamin C (like strawberries, pineapple, or broccoli) to help promote good health this season.
  2. In addition to loading up on foods rich in vitamin C, there are other foods that can offer flu-fighting benefits. Greek yogurt is a great option because it can help balance bacteria in the gut, reducing susceptibility to infections. Sardines, though not most people’s favorite food, offers vitamin D, which is important for immune-system regulation. Garlic is another powerful food that can help fight off viruses. (Just remember to brush your teeth really well after eating piling up on the odorous cloves.)
  3. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. The holidays can be so busy that the Zs can start to drop on the priority list, but getting around seven to eight hours of sleep each night can act as a pretty good defense against icky flu germs.
  4. Wash your hands frequently. We know, we know—you’ve heard this advice since the moment you learned to talk. It’s simple, but it’s one of the best ways to protect yourself from the germs lurking on common objects you touch every day, like doorknobs, stair rails, cell phones, and computer keyboards. Wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, after shaking hands with someone, etc., etc. You know the drill.
  5. Avoid touching your face. You might not even realize how often you do it, but stroking a mustache, resting your cheek on your palm, messing with a blemish, or applying lip balm with your finger can all spread those nasty germs from your hands to your mouth or nose.
  6. Protect yourself and others and stay home when you are sick. If you do come down with the flu, cold, or another contagious illness, do everyone a favor and call in sick. In today’s go-go-go world, it can be tempting to just power through your symptoms in order to meet deadlines and stay on your boss’ good list, but spreading your germs to the rest of the office won’t help you get ahead. Have some common courtesy for those around you and stay home until you’re feeling better and are no longer contagious. Plus, working when you’re sick can actually increase the time it takes you to recover—and no one wants that. Take a few days to rest and take care of yourself.
  7. WebMD suggests getting a flu shot as soon as possible and states that this is one of the best ways to prevent the coming down with the big, bad illness. There are many different types of flu vaccines. Talk to your doctor to find out which is best for you.

Coming down with the flu is not something you want on your holiday bucket list—especially if you have young children or looming work deadlines. Practice healthy habits, follow the tips we listed above, and enjoy your favorite family traditions this holiday season!

Struggling with sleep apnea, snoring, or another sleep condition? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back your sleep (so you can spend the season decorating gingerbread houses instead of dealing with sleep deprivation). Discuss how to avoid the flu this season with Dr. Pasha and his team. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!

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