Photo via VisualHunt.com
You may have heard me say many, many times how much I love the autumn season. The gorgeous colours on trees, the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, the air is crisp and clean, summer vacations are fond memories, life seems to reset and we get back to “normal”.
It’s a new beginning. What’s not to love?
Well, even I must admit, there is one major thing I do not love about the autumn. That’s the seemingly inevitable, Fall Spike.
BACK TO SCHOOL EQUALS BACK TO GERMS: THE FALL SPIKE
Studies show school children bring germs home from school and spread them to their parents and younger siblings, causing sickness ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-ups – known as the Fall Spike.
- The Ontario Lung Association notes that when children go back to school, it’s back to close quarters with classmates – and the viruses they carry.
- A study from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology also shows a link between peaks in asthma hospitalizations and higher rates of respiratory tract infection after students return to school, particularly after the summer vacation.
So, is it inevitable that we get sick during the Fall Spike?
No, it is not! You’ll be happy to know, measures can be taken to decrease the likeliness of becoming a victim of the Fall Spike.
PROPER HAND WASHING
I worked for many years as a nurse in the Operating Room and I cannot overemphasize how essential it is to properly wash your hands. This is important any time of the year but doubly so during cold and flu season. Keeping your hands impeccably clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
TIP – For general hand washing, you should wash your hands with soap and warm water while silently ( or not so silently, it’s up to you…lol) singing the Happy Birthday song. Then rinse and dry your hands using paper towels or a clean hand towel.
STOCK UP ON FOODS THAT CONTAIN NUTRIENTS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO OVERALL AND IMMUNE HEALTH DURING THE FALL SPIKE AND LEADING INTO COLD AND FLU SEASON
- It’s important to make healthy food choices all year but even more so during cold and flu season to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.
- For example, Vitamin C and E are antioxidants important for the maintenance of good health and are found in citrus fruits and seeds/nuts, respectively, while zinc, which can be found in nuts and seeds, as well as vitamin A, found as beta carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash, have been shown to help maintain immune function.
- There is also interesting research that probiotics modulate the immune system, making these important to include as well.
- Protein, found in meats, eggs, seafood (e.g. salmon, tuna and trout), milk products, legumes, and nuts and seeds, helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
- The B vitamins, which help to maintain good health, are found in abundance in leafy greens, whole grains, and winter squashes, to name a few.
- We should all strive to include these foods on our grocery list to maintain good health this fall.
- It’s easy to introduce your family to new ingredients that contain nutrients that help lead to good overall and immune health.
- Try ingredients of different colours and textures, adding them to multiple meals to make the family accustomed to eating them.
SPEAK WITH YOUR ATLANTIC SUPERSTORE DIETITIAN
- Make a free appointment with one of the in-store dietitians at your local Atlantic Superstore. Dietitians can help you prepare for cold and flu season with nutrient-rich foods and recipes that help support good overall and immune health.
Book an appointment or keep a lookout for your in-store Atlantic Superstore dietitian, she/he would be happy to answer your questions or address any concerns.
FLU SHOTS SAVE LIVES
- The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu and is available through in-store pharmacists at Atlantic Superstore stores right now!
- From working many years as a nurse, I can tell you with certainty that flu shots save lives!
From the food aisles to the pharmacy your local Atlantic Superstore is a great resource for helping you maintain good health during cold and flu season.
Book a free appointment with an in-store registered dietitian for more information on foods that help support overall health and immune health, and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.