7 Top Tips To Avoid A Cold Or Flu This Winter

When it comes to fashion, a winter wardrobe is something that can bring such joy! Warm, snuggly jumpers, long boots, pom-pom hats, and gorgeous wool coats. Wrapping up warm and in style for winter can be really fun!

Unfortunately, for some people, winter also carries with it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). To help with the feelings of depression, people are advised to spend time in sunlight and to take a natural supplement

Another challenge in the winter is the very real chance of catching flu or colds. This can make you feel wretched not to mention, set you back weeks trying to overcome the infection. When our body is cold, it uses up so much more energy to stay warm leading to physical stress which makes you more susceptible to catching colds, and worse still, the dreaded flu.

Although there are slight differences between the two. A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. With flu symptoms which may include aching muscles that can last for weeks, there is a higher risk of developing more serious diseases from the flu, such as pneumonia. What they do have in common is that they share similar preventative tips to ensure that you do not catch one this Winter. Here, we list our Top 7 Tips to help you avoid contracting a cold or flu this Winter.

Sanitize Hands

Imagine you are talking to your children about cleanliness advice and avoiding colds/flus, and apply the same rules to yourself! Cold and flu germs are the most commonly transmitted germs as they can be airborne and very easily be transferred from one person to the next. These airborne germs can linger on handrails or desks, utensils or shared spaces so it is paramount that you regularly sanitize your hands. If you are suffering from a cold/flu then it would be kind to the world around you by sneezing into your inner elbow. If you do sneeze into your hand, remember to wash and sanitize to limit the spread of the germs.

Top Tip #1

Carry a hand sanitizer with you in your purse and use it regularly. These small plastic bottles are great when you have limited access to soap and warm water and fit easily into most purses.

Stay Wrapped Up

When we are cold, we shiver, when we shiver our immune system takes a beating. So work hard to stay warm this Winter. We lose over 60% of our body heat through our head so start wearing a hat. There are some real cute options out there! Layers are best when it comes to dressing for the cold. Layers trap in body heat and are easy to remove/replace when going in and out of the cold. Mittens are generally warmer than gloves. Make sure that the socks you choose are light-medium weight and contain wool, cotton and lycra for best thermal benefits.

Top Tip #2

Aim for three layers: Wicking (next to skin), Insulating (these include the thicker sweatshirts or sweaters) and a Protection layer (coat or jacket). With this combination, you won't go far wrong when it comes to staying warm this Winter.

Supplement Diet

Never more so than in Winter, has a healthy daily diet been so important? Our immune system needs a super boost during the cold months to hold out against the abundance of germs floating around in the air.  A variety of studies have shown that this herbaceous flowering plant derived from the daisy family, provides immunological effects.

Top Tip #3

Echinacea can be taken in drops, lozenges, capsule form or tea. Make sure you get your daily dose in whatever form is comfortable for you. Visit your local health food store to stock up on this valuable supplement that should form an essential part of your Winter first aid kit!

Avoid Crowds

Colds and flu germs spread very easily, so being around people and in public places will greatly increase the chances of catching them. Trains and undergrounds with little ventilation are packed during Winter, as are shops getting ready for the festive season making the odds stacked against you in the fight against catching a nasty illness in the Winter months.

Top Tip #4

Our advice to you is to shop online wherever possible. There are so many stores that offer home delivery that this is a great way of both preserving energy that is often wasted on schlepping around shops and also a great way to reduce the contact that you have with the outside world.

Stay Hydrated

The medical experts suggest that drinking eight 8 oz glasses of water per day is the way to go for optimal health. Water helps our body function well, flushing out unwanted toxins. When we have a cold, the excess mucus we produce leaves our body’s dehydrated meaning that we are less able to flush out the bacteria easily and quickly.

Top Tip #5

Carry a bottle of water around with you to sip regularly. When at work, ensure that you have a bottle of water on your desk. Try adding lemon, orange and/or ginger for added flavour plus an extra vitamin boost.

Sleep A Lot!

Adequate sleep is totally underestimated! Sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. When we sleep, our body repairs itself, replenishing what it loses during the day. Sleep plays its part in repair and rejuvenation of our cardiovascular system, cognitive health and blood vessels. Healthy sleeping patterns ensure our immune system remains strong and effective to fight off infections.

Top Tip #6

Aim for a regular bedtime routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Do not take your phone into your bedroom so that you will not be tempted to surf yourself to sleep. When you go to bed, go to bed to sleep.

Stay Active This Winter

Exercise is a crucial part of the fight against germs this Winter! Stay active to ensure that your circulation and blood flow increase which allows your body to stay on top form and ready to fight off infections. Some research suggests that it is possible, with adequate exercise to reduce the occurrence of colds by up to half.

Top Tip #7

Aim for 4-5 times a week, of 30 minutes exercise to retain a strong defense against the onslaught of Winter germs that are floating around. Get creative when it comes to getting out and about. The cold months are the most difficult to enjoy exercise outdoors so you could consider a short-term gym membership that you could utilize before, during or after working hours.

We could go on….use sanitizing wipes, sleep in a ventilated room, lower the heating slightly, listen to your body and slow down, visit a sauna….the point is there are many things that you do to fight off colds and flu. Be proactive when it comes to your health. If you are prone to suffering in the cold Winter months, then get one step ahead and sort your health out to ensure that you stay healthy and happy over the Winter season.    

Brought to you by our expert team at Authority Health.

Sabrina is a gem in the world of nutrition and health. She is our go-to resource for articles about healthy eating, balanced diet and the science behind food. She obtained her degree from the Rutgers School of Nursing in New Brunswick before qualifying as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). However, nursing didn’t fulfill her completely and so her journey with nutrition and health began. Her philosophy is simple - ‘prevention is the cure’ and she strongly advocates that food is medicine.

Sabrina eats only organic food and hopes that one day, she will have her own organic garden because she feels the benefits are untold.

She has made it her life's purpose to teach others about creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and has just set-up her own private practice. She is currently working to build her own website for online advice and guidance. She has a lot to say.

Her other passions include biking, Zumba and exploring the great outdoors with her partner, John.