What should you do to avoid cold and flu in the winter
December is when infections tend to become prevalent. Here, we look at some ways you can minimize your risk of catching colds and flu.
- Keep warm- Be prepared to dress warmly when that sudden cold weather sets in, we lose up to 30per cent of our body heat through our heads – so wear a hat.
- Wash your hands- Germs can be transmitted by physical contact and enter the body when infected hands touch vulnerable parts like our eyes, mouths and noses.
- Watch the weather- Low cloud, dull and misty conditions tend to bring an increase in germs. Viruses survive longer when the weather is moist.
- Avoid huddling and heating- Because people are much closer together physically during winter, this makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded trains, department stores bustling with shoppers and people gathering for parties all make catching a cold more likely.
- Herbal help Zinc and garlic– The mineral zinc is essential to help fight colds and provide a boost to a flagging immune system. Good food sources include meat, oysters, eggs, seafood, tofu, black- eyed peas and wheat germ. Zinc and Vitamin C make a great cold-busting duo.Garlic helps ease chest complaints and small amounts taken daily may also reduce the frequency of colds and flu.
- Drink Plenty of Water– Doctors recommend we drink about eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. If you have a cold, being dehydrated makes your mucus drier and thicker and less able to cope against invading bacteria and viruses. If you’ve already caught a cold, drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out the infection.
- Sleep Soundly– Lack of sleep makes us more prone to infection.
- Positive Attitude– Moods also affect our ability to fight off infections, and if you feel stressed you are more likely to become ill compared to when you’re feeling buoyant, happy and relaxed.
- Keep on Moving– Don’t underestimate the importance of regular activity, especially in winter. Apart from keeping our circulation going, regular moderate exercise increases the number of natural killer (NK) cells in our bodies.
- Take vitamins and probiotics-Taking a daily multivitamin is especially important in the winter when we may be less likely to be eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables, and are also more at risk from infection. Probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, are ‘friendly’ bacteria in our intestines and increasingly recognized for their importance not only in maintaining a healthy digestive system, but for improving the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Studies have shown that taking probiotic supplements can improve the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections.
We at On Call Medical Clinic hope that this information will help you to prepare our body to fight this year’s cold and flu season. Remember we are here 7 days a week, if you come down with an unexpected cold and flu. Our team of medical professionals is here ready to help. Please visit our website at www.oncallclinic.com to review all the services we offer.