Avoid catching a cold this winter with these 8 tips


f the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that these are the perfect conditions for us to be exposed to viruses and bacteria.

With the number of sniffly people around us rising every day, you may be wondering what you can do to dodge catching a cold.

Here is an extensive look at the best ways to avoid falling ill this winter.

1. Have an antioxidant-rich diet

A balanced and nutritious diet is the best way to support your body through the winter season and keep your immune system strong.

A wise man once said, “eat the rainbow”, meaning try to have as many colours of the rainbow on your plate as possible. Think broccoli for green and cabbage for purple.

Paying attention to consuming healthy amounts of protein and fibre is also important to keep your body strong.

2. Take vitamin supplements

Marillia Chamon, Gutfulness Nutrition founder and nutritional therapist, explains: “There are specific micronutrients the body needs for a normal functioning immune system, such as vitamins A, C, D and trace minerals such as zinc.”

Ideally, your diet would be healthy enough to give you most if not all of the vitamins and minerals your immune system needs. But vitamin D, which we usually get from direct sunlight, can be a tough one to have healthy levels of during winter months without the help of supplements.

Dr Deborah Lee, of Dr Fox online pharmacy, also advises vegans and vegetarians to take B12 supplements. The company says: “Vegans and vegetarians are at high risk of B12 deficiency, which causes an underactive immune system. This group is recommended to eat fortified B12 foods two or three times a day, and would be well advised to take B12 supplements.”

3. Prioritise relaxation

The stress hormone, cortisol, weakens our immune system’s ability to fight infections.

Thus, it’s important that you make time to destress and engage in relaxing activities, like yoga, meditation, or journaling.

Alternatively, you can make time to see your friends, take a holiday, or read a book, if you find that it helps you unwind.

4. Don’t touch your face

Given the number of things we touch during the day, it is unwise to touch your face if you haven’t washed or sterilised your hands.

Dr Roger Henderson, a GP and Olbas spokesman, advises: “The cold virus is often carried on the hands and then enters your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, minimise the risk of catching a cold by washing your hand regularly.

“To get rid of germs, rub your hands together vigorously with lots of soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds.”

5. Clean your phone

Think about where your phone has been in the past 24 hours: the bathroom stall, the office kitchen counter, the table at the restaurant, in your friends’ hands as they input their Instagram handle…

Now, think of all of the germs from those places touching your face.

If that’s made you shake your head with disgust, then you’ll agree that disinfecting your phone on a regular basis will be a great way to keep viruses at bay.

If you need more convincing; a 2012 study at the University of Arizona found that cell phones can carry up to 10 times the amount of bacteria found on toilet seats.

6. Get some rest

Studies show that sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to the strength of your immune system and your overall wellbeing.

Those who regularly sleep less than seven hours a night were three times more likely to catch a cold compared to those who slept eight hours or more.

So, make sure to have a healthy sleeping schedule in place to support your health.

Chris Hemsworth has endured freezing temperatures in a quest for ultimate health

/ Disney Plus

7. Try Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy has become a favourite health hack among celebrities in recent years, with many sharing videos of themselves in cryo chambers or ice baths on social media.

If you opt for a cryo chamber at a wellbeing facility, it will involve cold, dry vapours being used to alert your skin receptors and cause a natural fight-or-flight response.

This will lead to your blood vessels dilating and sending oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your extremities.

John Attard, managing director of The Body Lab, explains its benefits, saying: “Cryo helps release more significant amounts of endorphins into the body and, as a result, we lower our cortisol levels and bolster our immune system, which is important in the winter when colds are generally more frequent.

8. Drink more water and less booze (and from your own glass)

Those who don’t drink enough water and further dehydrate themselves by binge-drinking are more likely to have weaker immune systems and catch a cold.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties are usually centred around festive cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. But pay attention to just how much you drink and try to balance it out by rehydrating your body afterwards.

While we’re talking about drinks, it’s also wise to label your glass so that you don’t end up swapping germs with your family and friends and risk making each other ill.

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