It’s that time of year again… tis’ the season of colds & flu! The common cold and seasonal flu are caused by viruses and as most of us know, flu symptoms are usually more serious than the sneezing and blocked nose that you associate with a common cold. On top of this, Covid-19 is still around which means there are extra nasty germs to try and avoid!
How to prevent illnesses during winter:
Having ideally 7-9 hours of sleep per night, can help us to repair and fight off toxins and bacteria that we have come into contact with, boosting our immune system. Studies have shown that we are more prone to cold viruses when we have less than 7 hours sleep. A lack of sleep has the opposite effect and supresses our immune system.
We all know this one by now, singing Happy Birthday as you do! Washing hands frequently and thoroughly is number one way to prevent illnesses. Mini hand gels are great to keep handy, whilst you’re on the go.
Wrap Up Warm
The increase of the cost of living may mean that having the heating on is a treat. Try to wrap up warm with extra layers of clothes and blankets to prevent catching a cold.
Relax and De-Stress
Stress is known to suppress your immune system and there is evidence to show that when you de-stress e.g. meditation, it boosts your immune function.
Exercise boosts your immune system by increasing your circulation. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel through the bloodstream faster, allowing your immune system to fight off any illnesses, increasing your body’s natural virus-killing cells.
Water oxygenates the blood and flushes out harmful toxins from your body helping to fight off illnesses. Drinking water will also help organs like your eyes and mouth to remain moist and repel contaminants that could cause colds/flu.
Eat a rainbow of dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits. Citrus fruits, berries, apricots, carrots and beetroots are full of vitamin A and C to support the immune system.
Breathe deeply outside to help the lymphatic system move protective immune cells around the body. Even opening the window for a few minutes every hour and renewing the air inside can help.
Steam It Away
Steaming is a great way to ease congestion particularly when we have a cold or sore throat. A DIY steam: using hot water in a bowl, position your head carefully over the bowl and place a towel over the top of your head. Take deep breaths in for as long as you need, add eucalyptus or vicks if you like.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) Preventing the Flu. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/index.htm
Obasi C N, et al (2012) Advantage of meditation over exercise in reducing cold and flu illness is related to improved function and quality of life. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582749/
Sanchez A., et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 26(11). 1180-1184. Web: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/26/11/1180.abstract
Woods J A, et al (2009) Exercise, Inflammation and Innate Immunity. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24355072_Exercise_Inflammation_and_Innate_Immunity