We’ve all heard doctors recommend “drinking plenty of fluids.” But why? The flu (or “influenza” if you want to use proper terminology) is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Staying hydrated is especially important during flu season because mucus helps fight off those microscopic germs trying to take down our immune systems. When you keep the lining of your nasal airways and lungs hydrated, you are less likely to get sick or develop respiratory problems. Fun fact: mucus is 95% water!
So all that hand sanitizer didn’t save you from getting sick. Now, more than ever it’s important to drink water! If you have the flu, chances are you’re suffering from a runny nose and fever. These symptoms cause your body to lose water and potentially lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated is not only bad for your respiratory system, it also negatively effects sleep, energy, kidney function and your ability to absorb much needed nutrients. So drink up!
Let’s be real, drinking regular ole’ water is the absolute best way to stay hydrated. Just make sure your water is filtered! But I know when I’m sick, I crave more comforting drinks. Hot water, lemon and honey is one of my favorites when I’m sick – sometimes I even add garlic or ginger for an added immune boost (WARNING: this may taste a little intense). Caffeine-free teas are also pretty hydrating. Look for teas with soothing herbs and helpful antioxidants, like rose hips or cinnamon. I’m personally a fan of Echinacea Elderberry tea when I sense my immune system is being compromised. Even though we all know to avoid alcohol when sick, sometimes a hot toddy does just the trick.
- The CDC always recommends getting your flu shot!
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching our eyes, nose or mouth.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- If you’re sick…STAY HOME.
Stay healthy out there!