Keep yourself and your family healthy and flu-free this winter.

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As cold and flu season is fast approaching, we offer tips and advice on how you and your loved ones can avoid getting sick this season.

1) Get the Flu Shot: This one is a no-brainer to protect both yourself and those around you. Dr. Robin Williams, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, explains that “the flu shot is between 70 and 90 per cent effective—even if you do get the flu, you will be getting a weaker strain, with a 60 per cent reduction of signs and symptoms.” The flu shot composition changes every year, in hopes of protecting against the most aggressive strains for as many people as possible. Maybe you’ve heard the term herd immunity? The idea is that if enough people in a community have been immunized, those that are unable to be immunized themselves will be protected since the virus has very few bodies to travel between, and will not spread. So the flu shot isn’t just for you, it protects everyone!

2) Stay Active All Winter: Keeping your body in good shape is one of the best ways you can fight getting sick. It can be tough to stay motivated during the winter months, but your immune system will thank you. When you raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing, more oxygen is circulating throughout your body, which helps to push toxins out of your system.

3) Rest and Sleep Consistently: Getting a proper night’s sleep and keeping a consistent sleep schedule is critical to your health and energy levels as when we sleep the body repairs itself. You know that feeling when you’re on the verge of getting sick, and it feels like your energy has been zapped? Listen to your body, and get those zzzs in.

4) Sanitize Sensibly: When people are sick around you, the urge to douse yourself with hand sanitizer can be overwhelming. Dr. Robins says simply be sensible: “You can go overboard with anxiety when trying to protect yourself against germs. Use your best judgment and be practical.” Use hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas, like after using public transit and before and after eating at restaurants.

5) Take your Vitamins: No matter how well you protect your body, if it isn’t getting the proper nourishment, you’ll become susceptible to getting sick. Vitamin C is a major player in a healthy diet, so stock up on oranges, spinach, and peppers. Then add a multivitamin so you can incorporate nutrients into your diet as well. However, don’t rely on multivitamins alone—get your fruits and veggies in!

Looking for an immunity booster? With cold and flu season combined with the extra-busy holidays, there is no time like the present to boost your immune system. Enter Saje Immune Germ & Virus Fighting Remedy ($21.95, wellness stores and saje.ca). This convenient essential oil formula in a rollerball glass bottle opens up the sinuses and helps fight cold and flu symptoms for those of us already under the weather. Yet, it also helps to revive the body when you feel something coming on and seek to save yourself.   The formula contains myrrh, cinnamon, peppermint and eucalyptus, which together provide a soothing, warm and revitalizing blend that brings relaxation to congestion, coughs, body aches and more—a regular addition to our purses during this flu season to help keep us healthy.

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