We know that there’s an uptick in illnesses in winter and many of us want to avoid catching a cold and flu. Here are some tips to help prevent or avoid getting sick that you can implement easily, every day.
Keeping your body healthy, by eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep will mean that you stand a better chance against infections, like the common cold, but these infections are just that: infectious. Here’s how to best prepare yourself for flu season and stand the best chance of avoiding getting ill.
Up your vitamin D intake.
According to The Nutrition Source, many people have insufficient levels of vitamin D. Studies have shown that adults with low vitamin D levels are more likely to report having had a recent cough, cold, or upper respiratory tract infection.
Studies also reveal that the active form of vitamin D tempers the damaging inflammatory response of some white blood cells, while it also boosts immune cells’ production of microbe-fighting proteins.
Keep it clean.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have all become more aware of the importance of sanitisers and greater handwashing practices. Some of the best ways to prevent illness are to regularly wash your hands and keep them away from your face until you have cleaned or sanitised. It’s also important to disinfect your phone. Think of all the places that you may put your phone down during the day – in bathrooms, on common counters and in restaurants where contracting illness is higher.
Getting enough good-quality sleep is key to staying healthy. In the article “Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold” published in a JAMA Internal Medicine Study, results showed that poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were associated with lower resistance to illness. It is recommended that we get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Reach for Zinc
Zinc is an immune-boosting element that can be found in cold and flu medication. Research shows that zinc could reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms by directly inhibiting rhinovirus binding and replication in the nasal mucosa and suppressing inflammation. Low zinc status is associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children and the elderly. Increasing your zinc intake significantly reduces the duration of illnesses by 1 day. Read more on the NIH findings here.
It’s always important to consult with your doctor before taking supplements. Don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional if you suspect you are getting ill this winter.