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Articles > _tis the season to be healthy_yes, with ITP!

_tis the season to be healthy_yes, with ITP!

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It's here again'that time of year when cold, flu, sniffles and sore throats can really cramp your style. When you have ITP, that can be a problem, since some medications to ease your symptoms can be off-limits. (See Guide2ITP.com/DrugSafety for a list of remedies you should avoid.) While you can't do anything about the folks coughing into your airspace at the supermarket, you can boost your immune system so you're better able to withstand such assaults. Here are six handy tips that can make this winter more fun than you've had in a long time!

1. Exercise (outdoors!) to stay strong. No need to write off exercise just because you have ITP'or because it's winter. A 2011 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that people who exercise outdoors feel more energized and experience less stress and depression than indoor exercisers. They also enjoy their exercise more! So bundle up and take that walk, build a snowman or throw snowballs with the kids. Naturally, if your platelet counts are low, you have petechiae or purpura, or you're currently having bleeding episodes, check with your hematologist before venturing outdoors to find out what type of physical activity is safe. But don't automatically deprive yourself of the mood and immunity boost from moving your body!

2. Vary your veggies! Winter vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and acorn squash are brimming with health-boosting plant chemicals'exactly what you need if you want an immune system capable of fighting microbes that can make you sick, according to Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Super Immunity. But variety is key, since a combination of plant compounds is more effective at bolstering immunity than any one compound, writes Dr. Fuhrman. So pur?e some squash, make some cabbage soup, and roast onions and carrots with broccoli.

3. Wash your hands. ITP or no, one of the easiest things anyone can do to stay healthy is to keep your hands clean. Just wet your hands with clean, running water and lather up with soap. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Wash hands before preparing and eating food, before and after caring for someone sick, and after using the bathroom, handling garbage and tidying up after your pet.
Tip: Carry hand sanitizer with you for those times you can't wash!

4. Get more ZZZs. It's no news that ITP can leech your energy. Getting enough sleep consistently can help with that. But if insomnia is interfering with a good stretch of quality sleep'7 to 9 hours for adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation'you might want to try this: For 10 minutes before bedtime, focus your mind on a serene and inviting place'like a beach or a quiet lake'and breathe slowly and deeply. The technique, developed at the Walter Reed National Military Hospital in Bethesda, MD, as part of a cardiac risk reduction program, should help soothe away your stress so you can fall asleep more easily, enjoy a better quality sleep and ease your fatigue. What's more, regular sound sleep can help you avoid getting run-down and becoming a target for every disease going around!

5. Get a flu shot. Most doctors recommend it. Yet it's sometimes a matter of debate among people with ITP: Should you get a flu shot? "Yes, absolutely," answers James N. George, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and top platelet disorder researcher. According to the CDC, the viruses in the flu shot are killed, so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. While vaccines, like any medicines, can cause allergic reactions, most people who get the shot develop no serious problems. "There are no contraindications for getting the flu vaccine if you have ITP," says Dr. George. But check with your doctor if you've had major surgery recently (including a splenectomy) or are severely immune-compromised, he adds.

6. Manage your stress. Ask Danielle Schmidt what triggers her platelet crashes and she'll say stress! If it's the same for you, try mindfulness meditation'which focuses the mind on the present. Researchers from UCLA and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that older adults who took part in an eight-week program using the technique experienced less loneliness and less inflammation, a significant cause of disease.
Can't Sleep Cough Depression Difficulty Breathing Insomnia Muscle Cramps Pain Sleep Disorder Stress Flu Fatigue Exercise More Inflammation sick Depression

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