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Stay away from the flu this winter
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With winter fast approaching, flu season is here. People can easily catch the flu bug and they try to fight it with western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine or some homemade secret recipes. Yet some of these strategies are ineffective or even harmful. The best way to counter the flu is to protect us from contracting it. So here are eight good habits to protect people from contracting flu from the very beginning.

Four ineffective ways to fight the flu

* Sweating leads to good health

Some think sweating is a way to get rid of the flu. People who have contracted flu cover up in quilts or drink hot fresh ginger water to sweat the virus out of their bodies. Yet sweating doesn¡¯t necessarily lead to better health. Sweating too much can lead to a risk of dehydration, which can result in an imbalance in electrolytes thus intensifying the flu.

* Eating more or eating less leads to recovery

Some people believe that people with the flu should eat more fat to get extra nutrition. This thinking is wrong. When people catch a cold, their stomach activity slows down and high-fat and high-protein food increases pressure on the digestion system. Others believe that people who have the flu should eat less as they don¡¯t have as big an appetite. Yet eating less can lead to less energy, which can lead to a longer recovery time.

* Sports therapy

Many young people believe doing sports such as basketball or running is a good way to fight the flu. Yet such intense exercise can make their health worse. More physical activity increases energy consumption and decreases their ability to get rid of the flu bug.

* Saline transfusion offers relief from fever

Some believe that a saline transfusion helps people when they have a high fever; they think that the body¡¯s internal heat and the virus will flow out of the body through urine thus lowering body temperature. Yet saline is not the panacea. Drinking more water is more effective.

Eight habits to keep the flu away

1. During the day, keep the bedroom window open to let fresh air in.

2. Wash your face with cold water in the morning and wash your feet with hot water in the evening. This practice can help boost blood circulation and improve the body¡¯s resistance.

3. Do some exercises in the morning, such as jogging or shadowboxing for 10 minutes.

4. Rinse your mouth with salt water or tea every morning and every evening. This can help kill flu bacteria, clear phlegm and keep the mouth fresh.

5. Wear more clothes when it's cold and take them off some when it's warm.

6. Get a bottle of vinegar or Chinese white wine at hand and smell it now and then. Their pungent smell can help people get refreshed and improve their body's resistance.

7. Drink two kinds of beverages before going to bed can help people stay away from the flu: soup made of radish and vinegar; and tea made of fresh ginger.

8. Close the doors and windows and put a pot of boiling vinegar in the room. Vinegar steam is a good way to kill flu bacteria in the air.

(China Daily November 28, 2007)

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