Most of us can’t survive the winter without falling prey to at least one virus, infection or zealous set of cold germs. The phrase “winter wellness” sometimes seems like an oxymoron.
After all, staying indoors in a closed air system makes people more susceptible to certain germs. Winter’s affection for cold, dry air means germs will stay airborne longer. Just like adding layers of hats and scarves, we must add layers of immune support to bolster our defenses.
For many families, the flu vaccine is a viable option, but don’t take any chances. Fortify your body’s immune system by making smart dietary choices, too.
To keep your family healthy through the winter cold/flu season, use the following advice to keep the sniffles at bay.
Keep vitamins, minerals and supplements on hand
In addition to Vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and fish oil are all proven to strengthen immunity.
Stock kitchen with immune-system boosters.
A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to help the body fend off illness, but you have to know what you’re looking for.
Green tea helps fight viruses, especially if combined with anti-inflammatories like ginger. The more Vitamin C, the merrier, so get your daily serving(s) of orange juice. Add cashews for healthy fats and extra antioxidants. Other edible flu-fighters include mushrooms, red peppers, sweet potatoes, garlic, whole grains and beans.
Common sense is king
Common sense rules for hygiene are twice as important during cold weather. Be extra diligent about the basics—cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and carefully wash your hands often.
Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.
Drink lots of water
You may not feel very thirsty during fall and winter, but it’s important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least eight glasses of water every day.
Exercise: It is a proven immune booster
Maintain a moderate exercise programme three to four days a week. It will strengthen your immune system and increase the body’s natural ability to fight infections.
Limit liquor intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance.
Listen to your body
Stay home if you have a fever and are coughing. You will feel better, recover faster if you rest and reduce the risk of infecting others
Practice cold and flu prevention at work
Hold office meetings in large rooms with plenty of ventilation and don’t be hesitant to practice “social distancing.” Keep some extra space between you and people who are sick or who sneeze or cough openly. If you share a workstation with others, clean it with antibacterial wipes before you sit down.