A winter cold might seem inevitable, however you can take action to boost your immune system and minimise the risk of picking up a bug this winter. Here are six quick tips for staying well as the mercury drops
Get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible – There’s not a lot of sunshine this time of year so a walk at lunchtime can be a great way to get as much sunlight as possible. Vitamin D3 drops may also be helpful to counteract the effects of a lack of sunlight. Not only that, but sunlight will also help beat the winter blues and keep you feeling well this winter.
Regular exercise can help keep stress at bay, boost your immune system, control your weight, improve your mood AND burn off some tensions that can creep up on your family with long periods cooped up indoors. Try a family walk after dinner to spend some quality time together and keep activity levels up.
Wash your hands… A lot!
Cold and flu germs are easily passed through hand-to-hand contact. Make sure you regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid sharing public objects where possible.
Get enough sleep!
Plenty of sleep will not only keep your immune system working well to keep you healthy, but it will also help avoid feelings of sluggishness that can be caused by tiredness and a lack of sunlight.
It’s just as easy to get dehydrated in winter as it is in summer (when you can “see your breath” in cold temperatures you’re actually seeing water vapour being lost from your body) You will be more susceptible to colds and flu when you’re dehydrated.
Food is fuel
Boost your immune system by getting your daily dose of five-a-day fruit and veg. Fill your body with healthy nutrients, fresh fruit and vegetables rather than carb-laden foods and you’ll be well equipped to avoid winter bugs.
And if you do catch a cold? Try taking zinc. A 2013 Cochrane review showed that taking 75mg of zinc a day helped shorten the duration of symptoms- By Day 5, 70% of people taking zinc lozenges (not spray!) had recovered from the common cold, compared to only 27% of people taking placebo. It’s thought zinc may stop the cold virus from multiplying and taking up residence in your nose and throat. It won’t prevent you catching a cold, but it can shorten the duration you’re poorly for.