Wintertime is upon those of us that live in areas where there are true seasons, and that typically means, although for reasons admittedly not scientifically proven, that you hear more about people getting the flu and getting colds. There is really no official scientific explanation for this, only speculation, but the common belief is that the cold weather brings more occurrences of nasty bugs.
So, what can you do to help prevent these bugs and viruses from interfering with your health? Well, there are several ways that you can help ensure you first do not come into contact with these illnesses, but second, that you know the right ways to help make them short and a lot easier to deal with when they do hit.
The first rule of thumb is to wash you hands frequently. My dermatologist has told me that you don’t need to wash the entire hand either, if you fear drying your hands out, since cold temps not only mean more colds, but also dry skin. She advised that as long as you wash the finger tips and gently rub the warm water on the palms also, this is sufficient to get the germs off.
Every time you use a public bathroom, wash your hands, and use either the sleeve of your shirt, your butt, or something other than your hands to open the door back up on your way out. You don’t know how many people have touched the handle since it has been disinfected, so it’s safe to assume that the equivalent of a small army have touched it since then.
This rule goes for any public doors. Just try to make it a habit to either cover your hands or use your body instead to open up doors, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by using this technique alone how much less you contract communicable illnesses.
Some people I know at the office keep hand sanitizer and use it frequently. I personally think that’s not necessary, but in some situations you may find it comes in handy if you don’t have access to a sink and soap after touching something that could potentially be harboring germs. Another good rule of thumb is to keep you hands away from your face.
The way you usually get a cold or the flu is by your hands touching your face. Germs can enter the body through any of the open orifices on your face, including your eyes, so it’s important to keep your hands off of your face if you can. If you have young children, this would also be a valuable lesson to teach them.
Get your sleep, and make sure you also get high quality sleep. Getting good sleep is one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy and strong. Research has shown that those who do not get enough sleep or who do not get full and complete nights of sleep have depressed immune systems. Rest and relaxation is something our body and our immune defenses need to recharge, so definitely make 7-8 hours a night a top priority.
Good sleep will also help you fight a cold or flu if you do happen to come down with it at some point, so make sure you’re going to bed on time. Try melatonin as a sleep aid, it helps you get complete sleep and also aids in falling asleep with minimal difficulty. Some research has also shown that it has beneficial properties beyond helping one sleep.
Try to avoid stress. Stress can also depress your immunity to simple virulent strains, and make you prone to falling ill more often. Stress and anxiety can be managed by stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and some herbal remedies that help relax the nervous system. Make no mistake, stress and anxiety wear down the system, and really make it easier for illness to take over, so try to manage your stress, especially if you live a high stress lifestyle.
Take your vitamins. Vitamin C especially, at least I personally believe because of course this is disputable as is everything else in life. Vitamin C may help strengthen the immune system, and also acts as a potent antioxidant which helps to destroy free radicals in your body, which weaken the body as a whole, and most likely also the immune system in some related circle.
This of course leads to the next point, which you know inevitably relates to all points of health, and that is diet. If you’re not giving your body the right nutrients, your immune system of course is not programmed to work at optimal levels. Eating a diet that is devoid of nutrition not only helps premature healthy cell destruction, but also leaves your body’s natural defenses easily targeted and vulnerable.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and a variety of colors is essential to not only helping to fend off flus and colds, but also essential in helping to avoid cancers, heart disease, strokes, circulatory and nerve disorders, and almost any other type of disease that turns the body on itself.
Now that you know some of the essential steps in helping to make your body a flu and cold free zone, hopefully you can translate this into a successful campaign against winter time sniffles, sneezes, upset stomach, and aches!