How to stay well this winter
Getting sick might seem like an unavoidable part of winter but it really needn’t be. Your immune system has the power to see off most common cold and flu viruses if you are living in a way which supports it. It’s never too late to get your immune system fighting fit so start with these tips now.
- Wash your hands
Such good advice but often ignored. The main route of transmission for viruses is through hand to mouth contact. Keep in mind that pretty much everything you touch has the potential to have been coughed or sneezed on by someone – and viruses can survive for 18 hours on surfaces! – so without becoming obsessive, keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose until you wash them.
- Stay warm
Getting cold can’t cause an infection – you need a virus or bacteria to do that – but it can lower your resistance to infection. However, if you use heating, it’s important to make sure you stay hydrated otherwise the first line of defence mucus membranes in your nose and mouth will become more permeable to viruses.
- Avoid sugar
Sugar suppresses your immune system for up to two hours after consumption, leaving you vulnerable to infections, so re-think the orange juice and throat lozenges!
- Manage stress levels
Recurrent or lingering infections are often a sign that your stress levels are too high for your body. There is an entire field of science called “psychoneuroimmunology” – or how our mind affects our immune system – dedicated to this. Try taking the herb Withania, drinking green tea and meditation for quick and easy ways to help with stress.
- Get enough good quality sleep
Your body just won’t be as resilient as you need it to be if you are constantly sleep deprived. If you are starting to feel run down, you might need to change your priorities to ensure that you are getting enough sleep.