It’s that time of the year most commonly known as ‘flu season’. A time of the year we all dread when germs are flying around and we are susceptible to catching bugs, colds and in extreme cases the flue! Unsure how to beat the onslaught of germs this winter? Well worry no longer… Here are a few healthy tips you can apply every day to give your body the boost it needs to stay fighting fit and minimise the risk of catching a cold or flu.
1. Wash your hands
As a child, you probably lost count of the amount of times people told you to wash your hands, which could be frustrating. However, it was all for good reason… Although most germs are airborne and transmitted by the “aerosol effect” when someone sneezes, they can also be spread through physical contact, entering the body when infected hands touch vulnerable parts, namely the eyes, nose or mouth. Washing your hands regularly can significantly reduce the chances of catching something. It’s also a good idea to keep your surroundings clean too, as there’s no point doing the above if you then go on to touch something less than hygienic!
2. Use hand sanitiser gels
If you don’t have access to a sink with clean water and antibacterial soap, sanitiser is a great way to kill cold and flu germs – especially if you use public transport. Keep one at home, in your bag, in your car and even on your desk at work, so wherever you go, you’ve got an effective, bacteria-busting tool at your disposal!
3. Drink plenty
It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of everyday life, meaning we neglect ourselves of water and that all-important hydration. According to the NHS, we should be drinking about 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) per day to stay healthy, as it helps our kidneys to function properly and flush out the build-up of toxins. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, being de-hydrated causes your mucus to become thicker and drier, making it less able to cope with invading germs, so always make time to drink plenty of water.
4. Exercise regularly
Don’t underestimate the importance of regular physical exercise for fending off lurgies and the flu! When you take part in physical activity, your white blood cells (the ones that protect the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders) travel through your blood faster and do their jobs better. What’s more, these natural killer cells remain in an elevated state for about 36 hours afterwards; in essence, creating a shield within your body to combat any oncoming germs. With this in mind, try to fit in at least half an hour of moderate cardio each day, like running, swimming, walking, or cycling.
5. Load up on vitamins
Make taking vitamins part of your daily ritual. Leading busy lifestyles, we all need that added boost to keep up with work, training and family life, which is particularly important in the winter months when we may not be eating enough fruit and vegetables, making us more at risk from infection. Multivitamins are a good option. Otherwise, Zinc and Vitamin C are the Batman and Robin of the vitamin world; a great cold-busting duo!
6. Keep warm
It’s common knowledge that much of our body heat is lost through our heads; 30 per cent in fact! So, the first rule of keeping warm in winter is to always wear a hat in frosty weather! What’s more surprising is that shivering lowers the immune system and makes us more at risk of catching colds, reinforcing why it’s important to choose your clothes carefully. Alongside this, the lack of sunlight this time of year also affects the way our immune systems perform by altering our bodies’ hormone levels in a negative way, including serotonin which contributes to our happiness and wellness and melatonin which helps control our daily sleep-wake cycles. So, as your mum used to say, “Make sure you wrap up warm when you go outside!”
7. Sleep well
We’re more prone to infections when we lack adequate sleep, so it’s important to get enough shut eye! The recommended amount, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is eight to 10 hours depending on your age, so bear this in mind if you’re trying to remain flu free. Sleep can also have a positive impact on your mood. If you feel stressed, it’s more likely that you’ll become ill, compared to when you feel happy, relaxed and full of beans. So, place that documentary on record, turn off your phone, and hit the pillow to give yourself the best chance of remaining healthy through the winter.
8. Get a flu jab
The most obvious of the lot! Getting a flu jab is the number one thing you can do to avoid a nasty cold.
While we can’t guarantee that you’ll remain cold or flu-less, by following these tips, you’ll certainly stand a much better chance than people who are living an unhealthier lifestyle. If you’d like to strengthen your immune system through exercise or an improved diet, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more about the services we offer.