In my military reporting, I’ve learned the term that is kind of silly sounding, but surprisingly practical: “left of bang.”

This means you want to stop a bad situation before it happens — or be left of it when all the events are laid out on a horizontal timeline. It means being proactive, taking charge and managing a situation before it gets out of control. Stay to the left of the bang.

When it comes to cold and flu season, I like to be left of bang, and lately, I’ve noticed that those around me have begun to sneeze and sniffle much more. The sound of someone sneezing instantly perks my ears and sends an anxious shiver down my spine. Yes, at home and in the office, I’m under siege by cold and flu germs just waiting for the moment my immune system is down and they can make their move.

I blame unpredictable Texas weather that insists on jumping from 30s to 80s and back again.

Regardless of the cause, it’s time to be proactive.

I’m not just going to sit in the foxhole and wait for an attack. I’ve got to stop my enemy before it strikes.

No, this doesn’t mean becoming a germophobe, constantly washing my hands and avoiding human contact, but there are certain ways to prepare your body to increase its chances of warding off unwanted illnesses.

The first and most obvious line of defense is vitamin C. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that oranges are a winter fruit. I try to eat one a day to keep up my vitamin C levels. What better to wash it down with than a vitamin C-packed Emergenc-C. Not only does this boost the immune system, but it also seems to give me a mid-afternoon or post-workout energy boost. I recommend the tropical flavor.

But it’s more than just vitamins. The wear and tear we put ourselves through can leave us vulnerable to colds. It’s no coincidence that those who are active and eat right are less likely to get sick.

I think everyone is pretty aware these days that bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking have negative health effects and can weaken your immune system, but did you know lack of sleep, stress and poor diet also play an important role?

According to an article on Everyday Health’s website, a diet filled with too much sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables can impair immune function. Being overweight or obese also has an effect.

Staying left of bang can be easy this cold and flu season, so long as you keep in mind the same principles of soldiers training to prevent danger. Be prepared, be ready.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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