Keep the Flu Away During the Holidays


Flu season typically lasts until the early New Year and it can really spoil your holiday plans. Not only that but it can also easily spread to grandparents, small children and pregnant family members who are most likely to suffer from serious flu complications. To make sure the whole family stays healthy during the holidays, here are a few flu etiquette tips to keep in mind

  1. Eat well: It’s important to make healthy food choices all year, but even more so during cold and flu season. Eat the rainbow to get a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Orange fruits and veggies often contain vitamin C, while nuts and seeds contain vitamin E. These dietary antioxidants are important for the maintenance of good health. B vitamins also help to maintain good health, and are found in abundance in leafy greens, whole grains and winter squashes. Vitamin A from orange veggies and zinc from legumes are known to help maintain immune function, so put them on your grocery list too.
  2. Strengthen your immune system: Getting enough sleep (7 to 8 hours each night for adults, or 8-10 hours for kids), drinking plenty of fluids (at least 8 glasses of water each day), eating nutritious foods and staying active will go a long way towards keeping your immune system fit during cold and flu season.
  3. Wash your hands: To limit the spread of germs, wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Wet your hands with warm water, lather for 20 seconds (ask little ones to sing a holiday carol!), and rinse. Hand washing is important after you sneeze or cough, and before preparing food.
  4. Know when to stay home: Make sure to stay home if you or you’re the your child’s temperature passes 38 degrees Celsius. They should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to daycare or school.
  5. Get the flu shot: No matter where you stand on proper etiquette, flu shots should be part of the plan in your defense against the flu! Depending on how well the vaccine is matched to this year’s common viruses, 70-90 per cent of flu cases can be averted through vaccination.

To give your body the nutrients it needs this time of year, try this family-friendly Mediterranean Mixed Pepper Salad. A half cup or raw red, yellow and orange bell peppers has double the vitamin C of an orange! This recipe is also a quick & easy option to make the night before school or work, to help keep your immune system strong during flu season.

For more information on flu prevention and recovery, and how to ensure your little ones are getting the nutrients they need, stop by Loblaws City Market or Your Independent Grocer to speak with me or our in-store pharmacists. And remember to get your flu shot to reduce your chance of getting the flu (you can even get your shot when you come in to do your grocery shopping).

Jessica Wang is a Registered Dietitian at Loblaws City Market or Your Independent Grocer in Vancouver. She is part of a network of more than 70 dietitians who provide services like one-on-one consultations, assisted shopping, school tours and recipe ideas at locations across the country. For more information on the services, please visit www.loblaws.ca/diettians

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