Germs are having a field day in this colder weather, we’re spending longer indoors, on public transport and generally in closer contact with one another. It’s much easier for infections to spread! The cold weather wears down our defence systems and the air is drier, making an ideal environment for flu viruses. Here are a few top tips for avoiding a ghastly infection or fighting off a cold.
1. Hands off!People who touch their face are 41% more likely to develop upper respiratory infections. Hands frequently become contaminated in public spaces so avoid touching your face until washing your hands and that means a good 20 seconds of soap and water to actually rub a virus off your skin. Wet hands are also more likely to spread germs than dry ones so make sure you are as thorough drying!
2. Keep hydrated, the right way...Cut back the booze! It interferes with sleep quality and weakens the immune system. Instead, opt for green tea over coffee for its plentiful antioxidants.
3. Hit the gym and sweat it out!Even as much as moderate exercise can slash your risk of catching a cold. Working out switches on your immune response. Already ill? If symptoms are above the neck (a runny nose, watery eyes) then you're golden! Exercise stimulates the production of epinephrine and can relieve nasal discomfort. However, if you have symptoms such as a sore chest, aches and pains then best to steer clear of places like F45!
4. Pro-Vitamins!Immune boosting supplements help fight off infections. Your vitamin D levels are extremely low in winter and by taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D a week may cut your risk of upper respiratory infection in half.
5. Break your dry spellAs the weather gets cooler and the air drier, your nasal passages become dried out. The sinus cavities sweep away illness-causing pathogens and are affected by temperature. The use of humidifiers (with the added benefit of eucalyptus oils) at home help put moisture back in the air and can also help alleviate dry skin, chapped lips and nose bleeds and when you're at work, try a spritz of a saline nasal spray.
6. Strength in Foods
Did you know that if you consume 100g of sugar a day (three cans of cola) your white blood cells ability to fight germs reduces by a massive 40%?! Be sure to monitor your sugar intake at cold-prone times of the year.
7. Don't Eat Too Much Sugar!
8. Rest.Our immune system relies on sleep to maintain healthy immune cells. Reduction of sleep induces more cortisol, which turns off the immune response (stress can also trigger this response). So if you’re desperate to avoid a virus, rather than turning straight to various vitamins, simply try to get enough rest.
If our internal body clock gets disrupted it’s much easier for viruses to take over cells and tissues, this happens when we do shift work, experience social jet lag during party seasons or travel across time-zones.