STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Hannah Miles, Lead Herbalist and Nutrition Counselor at Pharmaca, visited the KCAL9 studios Monday to show viewers five ways to beat the cold and flu.

Cold and flu season is upon us and February is this year’s peak month for flu activity.

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Top Tips To Stay Healthy:

1. The Sooner the Better: It’s never too early to prep your body by adding immune-boosting herbs and foods to your diet. An easy way to do just that is with natural herbs that support lymph and circulation, and stimulate the immune response. For example, medicinal mushrooms and andrographis are incredible options. If taken in large doses at the first sign of illness, they can save you from succumbing to viruses or bacterial infection and cut your symptoms and days of the illness down significantly. Other popular options include Echinacea, which has been shown to help deter viruses, Vitamin C and zinc.

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2. Practice Prevention: A simple but always effective tip – wash your hands frequently! We are constantly using our hands and can easily transfer germs to our bodies. I recommend scrubbing your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds multiple times each day, especially before you eat and after using public transportation. Or, use hand santizer when soap and water are unavailable. Another important tip for prevention is to get an annual flu shot. Seasonal flu shots help protect against viruses that will be the most common in the upcoming season. Check your local Pharmaca or other pharmacy location for available vaccine clinics.

3. Eat Right for Long-Term Immunity: Many people don’t know that dairy products, grains and processed sugar can promote production of mucus and inflammation – common causes of a number of illnesses and disease. Instead, choose colorful fruits and vegetables that provide a variety of vitamins and nutrients to support your body’s stress response and boost your immune system to fight off cold and flu symptoms, naturally. Additionally, turmeric and Manuka honey are two trending superfoods known to have powerful anti-inflammatory actions and additional benefits that range from detoxification to skincare.

4. Suppress with Rest: Getting enough quality sleep should be part of everyone’s routine, no matter the time of year, as it’s important in regulating normal body functions – especially fighting infections that may cause you to feel ill. The most common solution for trouble falling asleep is melatonin. This is a natural hormone that our bodies produce when we should be sleeping, and can be taken as a supplement before bed.
Other home remedies including white noise machines, hot baths infused with Epsom salt, and lavender aromatherapy to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. This will help strengthen your body’s immune system to fight and prevent illness.

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5. Feel Better, Faster: If you didn’t stop the virus in time, there are a few things you can do to help lessen the effects of a cold or flu – stay hydrated and support your body’s natural circulation with a hot cup of tea or gentle stretching to ease any discomfort and help support your body’s systems. Drinking plenty of water will flush your body and loosen secretions. Also, try coconut water for an alternative form of hydration with a little taste.