No matter how hard we try we just can’t seem to avoid catching cold and flu. There can be nothing worse than succumbing to a week or two of headaches, runny nose, sore eyes and throat and aching muscles not to mention the stomach upsets! It spreads like wildfire to the rest of the family and sees super-moms leaving their own beds to take care of hubby and the kids! However there are a few things you can do to avoid catching cold and flu and, surprisingly they aren’t that difficult! Read on for our top ten tips to keep the cold and flu gremlins at bay.
Top Ten Tips to Avoid Catching Cold and Flu
1. Hand washing is vital to keeping the germs that cause cold and flu at bay. Bacteria and viruses enter the body by means of the skin or mucous membranes so correct hand washing procedures, for example after each meal and trips to the bathroom, are essential. If you are meeting a lot of people make sure to wash your hands frequently. When you wash your hands, run clean water over them to dilute the virus. If soap and water aren’t available use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
2. No matter how much you love them, you may want to avoid any close contact with people who are sick. Never eat or drink from the cups or plates of ill people and wash all items very well in hot soapy water after use. Don’t share items like make-up or wash cloths and try to avoid being sneezed on!
3. Drink lots of water. Water is essential to good health and flushes any toxins out of your body while re-hydrating your system. It is a good way to avoid catching cold and flu and for treating it once it has taken hold. You aren’t getting enough water if your urine is very yellow in color. It should be an almost clear light yellow color, similar to lemon juice.
4. Get plenty of fresh air. Spend some time outside each day and do some exercise that increases your oxygen intake like jogging or swimming. When it is cold or raining we tend to spend more time indoors and it is these crowded centrally heated rooms that lead to the spread of the cold and flu virus.
5. Make sure the foods you eat are nutritionally sound. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain healing chemicals that help your body use the vitamins contained in them.
There are studies that suggest eating a cup of low-fat yoghurt a day can reduce your chances of catching cold and flu by twenty-five percent! The good bacteria found in yoghurt is thought to stimulate the immune system substances that fight viruses and disease. You may also want to supplement your diet with extra vitamin C, zinc and garlic capsules for an added boost.
6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The cold virus can take hold in these areas as it enters the permeable mucous membranes.
7. Make sure you get enough sleep at night (at least eight to ten hours) and decent rest periods during the day. Your body’s immune system will function better with sufficient rest and you will be able to fight off any nasty viruses.
8. If you do smoke, stop. Smoking affects and destroys the hair-like fibers inside the nose and lungs (the cilia) that prevent mucus from clogging the linings of the nose and lungs. People who smoke heavily get more frequent attacks of cold and flu than non-smokers. Symptoms are also likely to be more severe than in those who refrain from smoking. If you don’t smoke avoid inhaling second hand smoke to protect your health.
9. When you eat at a buffet avoid the dip! If a sick person grabs second or third coatings from the same celery stick he may leave more than his good conversation behind!
10. If you do become ill don’t go to work. If you do, it will only delay the time it takes to recover and complicate things further by spreading the virus to your co-workers, starting a never-ending cycle of re-infection. You can help yourself and others to avoid catching cold and flu by staying at home in bed, drinking lots of fluids and getting healthy again. You may also want to consider a flu vaccination to protect yourself from cold and flu in the future.
Simple isn’t it? We can all protect ourselves and our families by getting more rest, washing our hands and eating properly. We can also take steps to avoid contact with those who are ill and stay at home if we have become victims of the winter miseries. It may not be possible to avoid catching cold and flu entirely but we can minimize attacks and shorten their duration by making healthy lifestyle choices designed to enhance our immunity and general health. Here’s to good health!