Easy Ways To Help Prevent Colds This Winter
Although people also get colds in warmer weather, winter definitely seems to be the Season of Sniffles. Why is this so? Why do we get colds when we feel colder? And how can we prevent the dreaded bug from taking hold as soon as there’s a nip in the air?
Many theories as to why more people get colds in winter have been bandied about over the years. One of the most feasible of these is that people tend to stay indoors more, so the lack of fresh air and exercise contributes to their susceptibility to viruses. This is undoubtedly a contributing factor, but recently, however, extensive research suggests that our immune system functions less efficiently when our internal body temperature drops – such as during exposure to cold weather.
"It has long been known that the rhinovirus replicates better at cooler temperatures, around 33 Celsius, compared to our core body temperature of 37 Celsius," says Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale University’s School of Medicine.
It’s obviously impossible to never go outside when the weather’s cold, so what can you do to help prevent colds this winter?
Tops Tips To Help You Prevent Colds
There are no guaranteed ways to avoid colds and flu – except, possibly, live in total isolation! But there are plenty of little things you can do every day to give you the best chance of staying sniffle-free:
Wash Your Hands
The common cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. People sneeze into their hands before grabbing hold of a shopping trolley, pushing a lift button or turning a door handle. The next person who touches these surfaces will pick up their germs, as they can live for hours on these, and other, surfaces. In fact, The University of Arizona scientists have found that when someone is sick in an office, it takes only four hours for frequently touched surfaces to show traces of infectious viruses. This is why it’s imperative to wash your hands often during the day.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
This is easier said than done in a world where we all seem so busy all the time, but seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night is essential to help build your immune system and help your body repair itself.
Eat And Drink Well
Drinking water keeps your system flushed of toxins and strengthens your immune system. Hot water with honey, lemon and ginger is also great for fighting infection and boosting your immunity. Make sure you eat plenty of foods rich in Vitamins C and A, such as mangoes, citrus fruit, berries, carrots and beetroot. Try to avoid refined sugar, as this not only interferes with your immune system but your digestion too.
Get Out In The Fresh Air
When you’re wrapped up warmly, taking a walk in the fresh air and breathing deeply helps your lymphatic system move protective cells around your body. Exercise also increases your circulation, which makes it easier for our bodies to eliminate waste and toxins.
If you sadly already have a cold and would like some advice on ways to make yourself feel better while you’re getting better, chat to Dr Alain Sanua.