Family Programs Feature Story
I have heard from so many people that this winter’s cold/flu season has been particularly difficult. Boosting the immune system seems to be what health providers recommend we do to either cut down or develop an immunity to colds and flu. An article in Reader’s Digest (Donvito, Dec 2017) caught my eye recently because the title was “23 things people who never get sick do every day”.
I and my family had just been through a slugfest with a cold that seemed to last forever, so this article was of particular interest to me.
No surprise that at the top of the list was getting enough sleep. Do you know someone who says they only need 4 or 5 hours of sleep? The experts all agree that the body keeps count and the lack of sleep is an accumulative effect on your overall health. “MRI imaging shows lack of sleep reduces blood flow to areas of the brain that control higher level thought processes”, says Richard Shane, PhD, behavioral sleep specialist. I don’t know about you, but I cannot afford to lose any higher brain functions!
Staying hydrated is also key to staving off colds and or the flu. A good rule of thumb is to take your weight in pounds, divide in half, and this is approximately how many ounces of water you need a day. Simple fix, right? Then why don’t we do it because that coffee or tea tastes so good and water is boring. If you are used to hot beverages, try drinking either warm or hot water with raw honey, lemon or with a cinnamon stick.
The other high point in this article for me was that we all have to reduce the stress in our lives because it will compromise our immune system. Exercise, meditation, yoga, mindfulness (Zen Buddhist and mindfulness guru, Thich Nhat Hanh is 91 and in excellent health!), socializing with friends and families, these are all tried and true ways to reduce stress. Learn to take care of yourself so you can be there to support those in your care.
LTC Dave Leonard
State Family Program Director