It is here, that dreaded time of year when the “sniffles” pay a visit. Before you have to call your doctor for an appointment, aim for prevention. The best way to fight the cold or flu is by being productively proactive. This reminds me of a saying, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of medicine”.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said: “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” [Bukhari] Here are some tips on how you can fight the cold or flu, In sha Allah.

1. Think “Clean”

We tell our children to wash hands before and after eating, sneezing, coughing and so forth. So why do some of us forget the rule for ourselves? To keep the cold out of your home, wash your hands as soon as you get home. Get everyone in the household to get into the same habit.

Use an antibacterial spray to wipe door knobs in your home and common areas. Many aerosol sprays on the market kill 99.9% of the flu virus. If someone in your home has it, it’s a great idea to spray your house, specifically the ill person’s room.

When using a public toilet, use a paper towel to open and close the tap to wash hands, open the bathroom door, keep your hands off stair and escalator railings, as well as other areas that are commonly used in public. Hand sanitisers are not as good as washing hands, but might be a good plan B, if soap and water are not easily accessible.

2. Stay Active

Research show exercise can stimulate the immune system. If you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on — such as energy levels depleting, light achiness throughout your body or fatigue — even low-intensity cardio for 30 minutes, such as walking or riding the stationary bike, aerobics or the like will make a difference in how you feel.

For some of us, working out may be a difficult task to complete and the first signs of a cold or the flu coming on seem like a great excuse to not work out. Push through and you will feel much better. I have tried this; each time I pushed myself to work out, I felt much better. It slows down and even eliminates the onset of the cold or flu. If you do not have time for a full 30-minute session, aim for 10 minutes. Here are some articles that will inspire busy mothers, sisters, brothers and professionals alike to start making exercise a part of their daily routine. A home gym or a membership gym — there is definitely something for everyone.

3. Acquaint Yourself with Cold and Flu-Fighting Foods

Introduce your body to a diet rich in vitamins C and E. These vitamins boost your immune system. Foods such as almonds, avocados, spinach and fish are some examples of vitamin E rich foods. As for vitamin C, everyone knows citrus fruits are a great source, as well as broccoli, kale, cauliflower and strawberries, just to name a few. The micronutrients in natural foods give our cells the energy and sustainability required to fend off foreign invaders such as cold and flu viruses. If you have a diet that is high in sugar, now is a good time to start decreasing your sugar intake because diets high in sugar can weaken the immune response too.

Immune boost drinks are great as well. However, do not mistake them for energy drinks — I’m talking about the packets or tablets found in the pharmacy. They carry a whopping load of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants, electrolytes and other vitamins. A children’s version for your little ones is also on the market. If you cannot find the children’s version, you can give them the adult one. Just decrease the serving: half a serving or a quarter serving for toddlers. This too has been quite effective with my children. At the first sign of the sniffles, I begin dosing them up with the drinks twice a day. Alhamdulillah, because of this, I have not purchased over-the-counter medicine for my children in three years.

4. Constantly Hydrate

The human body is 66% water. Our bodies lose somewhere between 2.5-3 liters of water each day. Water loss increases during hot weather and when one is down with a fever. Water helps to regulate our body temperature; this is why it is a great fever reducer. Try to aim to drink half of your weight in water. To calculate, divide your weight in half. Example: 150 (lbs) ÷2 = 75. So you should aim to drink 75 ounces a day. Make it a habit to have a bottle of water with you at all times — on your work table or study desk, in your gym bag, backpack or handbag.

5. Adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah

i. The “Golden” Liquid
Subhan Allah, we have been blessed with so many aids for our ailments. Honey is one of them. Allah says in the Qur’an: “From inside them comes a drink of varying colors, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly in a sign in that for people who reflect.” [Qur’an: 16:69]

Honey is a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which help improve immunity. It is also great for a cough. Honey helps excrete mucus or phlegm. For children, try one teaspoon. It will be easier to have them down a teaspoon of honey compared to that nasty cherry-flavoured cough syrup.

ii. Hijama
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: He paid Al-Muqanna a visit during his illness and said, “I will not leave till he gets cupped, for I heard Allah’s Messenger(pbuh) saying, “There is healing in cupping.” [Bukhari]

Hijama is the process of extracting toxic blood from the body through the process of cupping. Hijama is beneficial for all systems of the body. This is another form of ibadah as it requires reliance on Allah. Ruqyah duas are said during the hijama session. A suction cup is applied over certain hijama points, (depending on the ailment) tiny surface scratches are made on the skin to extract the blood. Natural balance is restored to the body internally through the process of detoxification. It is a safe and painless process to keep you in the best of health. Hijama is recommended twice a year for healthy individuals. Resources are available online regarding this forgotten sunnah.

iii. The Black Seed
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah(pbuh) said: “Use this black seed. For indeed it contains a cure for every disease except As-Sam” And As-Sam is death. [Jami’ at-Tirmidhi]

Nowadays, many of us rely so heavily on prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. We forget we can give relief to our ailments with much more than the prescription given to us by our doctor. Try black seed with your medication and see what great benefit it brings you. There are many forms to choose from: Capsules, oils, or whole, choose the one that suits you best. Ruqyah duas that are used in hijama would suffice here, such as surah al-Fatihah, Ayatul Kursi and the al-Mu’awaithat ((The Protecting Ones (surahs 112-114)).

iv. Zam Zam
you might be think, this is non -accessible. However, there are many online Islamic stores that sell it. You may even find it at your local Islamic store, butcher etc. As with black seed, make dua for the intention you choose to use it for.

6. Get Immunised

Another way to be proactive, of course, is by getting a flu shot early in the season, which is around October. It is still not too late to get a flu shot, just practise the above proactive tips and be extra cautious the two weeks following your immunisation. This is the incubation period (the approximate amount of time it takes to start working in your body).

If all else fails and you do catch the cold or the flu, have patience and remember Allah has showered His mercy upon you, as illness washes away sins. Even if you do fall ill, you can still be productive (click here to see how you can be a productive patient). In short — there is never an excuse not to be productive. Treasure your health, hasten to do good deeds and contribute to the Ummah.

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