How to Stay Away From Colds This Winter
Winter can be the busiest season for many of us in terms of workload and social commitments, which means it can also be the period in which we’re most prone to catching coughs and germs from others. Here’s how to stay away from colds this winter, so that you can stay fit and healthy while the temperature drops.
1. Eat A Well-Balanced and Varied Diet
Committing to a well-balanced and varied diet is important during any time of the year, but is especially beneficial in the colder months. A varied diet not only reduces your chances of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity and multiple types of cancer, but it also helps boost your immunity through the consumption of vitamins and minerals. There are multiple different strains of infection around in the winter months, so try to keep at least 50% of your plate filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you can increase your intake of the antioxidants that fight infections.
2. Keep Fit and Active
Although there’s a temptation to keep nestled in front of the fire throughout the winter months, it’s still just as important as ever to ensure you remain fit and active. Make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for any potential downpours that may occur, so that you can keep working out while getting fresh air into your lungs.
Participating in regular exercise is one of the ways in which you can try to keep a cold at bay, as when you’re doing so, your body stimulates the release of white blood cells that fight against infections, while also suppressing inflammatory stress hormones. Remember to also keep pain-relief meds such as paracetamol on hand just in case you need them in the winter months to fight headaches or blocked sinuses.
3. Care For Your Mental Health
Many people find that their social calendars become jam-packed in the lead-up to the festive period, which can easily lead to burning out from the excess stress. Stress and anxiety can take a serious toll on the way in which your immune system detects and fights viruses, resulting in you and your loved ones becoming more vulnerable to catching the dreaded cold. Whether you de-stress through meditation, journaling or immersing yourself in your hobbies, take the time to relax and ensure your mental health is always kept a priority.
4. Keep Hydrated
We’re always reminded to drink plenty of water to remain in good health, but many people don’t realise that keeping hydrated can also help us fight off colds, too. The better hydrated the body is, the better our overall health will be, which means we’re more likely to be strong enough to fend off the multiple germs and viruses that are present once the temperatures start to decline.
Studies have shown good hydration to boost the specific immune response that supports the body in successfully fighting off viruses – so keep your water bottle filled at all times! This being said, stay vigilant in workspaces and communal environments regarding good hygiene, being careful not to share any cups or cutlery with others.
5. Get The Seasonal Flu Vaccine
One of the best ways to protect yourself from catching the flu in winter is by getting the flu shot. The vaccine is the best available protection against influenza, and while many people may believe they’ll be fine in a couple of weeks if they were to catch the infection, there are a lot of people whose illness may lead to further health conditions and complications.
There are certain groups of people who the flu shot will be especially invaluable for, due to either pre-existing medical conditions or the age group in which they’re in, as the flu could both worsen their health condition and increase the risk of further health problems occurring. Some of these groups include those who:
- Suffer with asthma
- Suffer with congestive heart failure
- Are aged 65 or above
- Women who are looking to conceive
- Young children aged 6 months to 5 years.
6. Keep Hands Clean
Although the common cold is an airborne infection, meaning its transmission is spread through small particles suspended in the air, it’s likely that many people who catch a cold have done so from the bacteria spread on their hands. Touching your mouth, biting your fingernails or rubbing your eyes are all common ways in which germs from your hands can enter the body to make you sick, so it’s important to keep hands as clean as possible on a regular basis.
Make sure you’re super thorough when washing your hands before eating throughout winter, as there are so many germs out there that you could easily have come into contact with while out and about. Also remember to keep anti-bacterial hand sanitiser topped up so that it’s available to you throughout the day.