It can’t have escaped your notice that Winter has arrived and with the kids having gone back to school recently, it’s well and truly cold and flu season. Having a cold can leave you feeling awful and unable to function, whereas the flu (a.k.a. influenza) can actually present a risk to life itself, particularly to the elderly and infirm.
So, it goes without saying, that avoiding the effects of cold and flu viruses is the preferable way to dealing with the problem, rather than waiting until you contract the illness and then trying to deal with the unpleasant, debilitating symptoms. In this blog, we offer up some simple, easy to follow tips to minimise your chances of coming down with both colds and flu. In truth, you can never completely protect yourself from catching the common cold, but you can reduce the likelihood a great deal.
Washing Your Hands
Whilst many infectious diseases are transmitted through the air, this is not the main way in which colds and flu are passed on. That’s because the bugs that cause the illness can exist on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, which is a long time when compared with around 15 minutes on your hands or in a tissue and even less when it’s airborne.
If you wash your hands on a regular basis and dry them off with disposable towels when you’re out and about, it greatly reduces the chances of catching a virus of any kind, including colds, flu and vomiting bugs like the Norovirus.
Wrap Up Warm
Your Mum was right when she told you to wrap up warm before going out, as not doing so can lead to coughs, colds and worse. This is because when you go out improperly dressed during a cold snap, you’ll start to shiver, which is your body’s way of trying to get warm. However, when you shiver, it can depress your immune system, making catching a cold more likely.
It’s also a good idea to wear a hat when it’s particularly cold outside because as much as 30% of the heat we lose is through the top the head.
Avoid Crowded Places if Possible
During the Winter, there’s nothing quite as likely to spread coughs and colds than when everyone huddles together in tight proximity. We’re talking about crowded tube trains and department stores that make the situation even worse by having either no ventilation or enclosed air conditioning. Central heating can also cause issues with colds and flu, as it can dry out the mucous membranes in the nose and leave you vulnerable to infection.
We’re not suggesting you become a hermit, rather that you try and avoid really packed indoor areas that leaves you huddled together, shoulder to shoulder.
Get Plenty of Sleep
When we’re run down through lack of sleep, our systems become depressed and this makes us more susceptible to infection. Getting at least 7-8 hours per night is the recommended amount, although this will vary from person to person. The fact is that if you’re burning the candle at both ends for an extended period, sooner or later you’re going to suffer for it, become run down and get ill.
Not getting enough rest also can make you more irritable and stressed, which is also known to depress the immune system.
Taking Probiotics and Vitamins
During the Winter, many of us are less likely to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, which puts us at an increased risk of infection. This issue can be circumvented by including daily multivitamins and probiotics into your diet, which can provide meaningful support to your immune system and help protect you against bugs.
Probiotics contain friendly bifidobacteriaand lactobacilli, which not only help to maintain healthy digestion but also helps to support the body’s natural defences and prevent germs from taking hold.
The importance of regular exercise in preventing illness during the Winter cannot be underestimated. As well as helping to improve circulation and overall cardiac health, regular activity helps the body to produce more lymphocytes in the immune system. These lymphocytes are known as natural killer cells and they patrol the body’s system looking for foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.
When you exercise, these natural killer cell levels are raised for up to 36 hours. However, you should be careful not to exercise too much, as this can cause them to drop away again as you get more fatigued.
The Natural Option
There is another option from a natural source to help you fend off the misery of colds and flu. It comes in the form of Black Seed Oil, which is created from black cumin seeds from the Nigella Sativa plant. It’s easily included in your diet, as a teaspoon of black seed oil in some herbal tea is all that’s needed to keep you protected.
The reason Black Seed Oil is so effective at keeping colds and flu away is that it actively helps the body to produce more of the natural killer cells mentioned earlier. The great thing is that it’s suitable for people of all ages, so you can keep the whole family safe and cold-free during the Winter.
What’s more is that there are a host of other health benefits from regular consumption of Black Seed Oil. It can help with skin complaints, digestive issues, allergies, weight loss, pain, diabetes, high cholesterol, brain function and more. All of this support that it provides to the body’s systems means that you feel healthier, stronger and more able to fight off infection.
Colds and flu are a fact of life during the Winter and as much as science moves on, they’re always going to be around. Prevention is the key to avoiding the worst of it during the colder months of the year and by following the tips we mentioned in our blog, you stand a really good chance of staying fit and healthy.
We thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope that it helps you have a happy and healthy time of this Winter.