During the winter, you may think that getting a cold or the flu is as inevitable as the next snowstorm. But there are steps you can take to avoid getting these annoying bugs:
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly And Often. By doing that, you’ll considerably decrease your chances of contracting germs that can make you ill. As simple as handwashing may seem, many of us aren’t doing it quite right. Here’s how: Wet your hands under running water. Apply soap and rub hands together for twenty seconds (you can count slowly to twenty to make sure you’re washing long enough). Don’t forget to wash in between your fingers. If you’re in a public placed, dry hands via an air machine or paper towel, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and go out the door. Don’t worry about looking silly; many people are avoiding touching the restroom door these days! If there’s no soap available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Clean Germ-Laden Areas At Home. That means kitchen counters, mouthpieces of telephones at home, bathroom surfaces like the sink and the faucet, door handles and any other spots that family members come into contact with.
Watch Your Hands And Nails. Even if you’ve washed your hands adequately, you can still be at risk of getting germs if you’re touching surfaces around you and then biting your nails or rubbing your face. While there’s no point in being paranoid (after all, you can’t go through life in a hazmat suit), it’s better to kick these habits. Nail-biting isn’t attractive, anyway!
Consider Getting A Flu Shot. Colds and flu are both caused by viruses, but while colds can be caused by any of about 200 viruses, the flu is caused by just one virus. And that’s what a flu shot protects against. There’s been some controversy about getting this shot because it might contain mercury or pork products (bad for people with allergies). If you’re undecided, ask your doctor whether it’s right for you.
Get Enough Sleep. Research has found that getting the right amount of sleep every night is important in keeping the immune system functioning well so it can fight off germs. Try for seven to eight hours per night. And avoid napping for a long time during the day. That will make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
Eat Right. Just like sleep, the right diet is important in keeping your immune system in top form. Go for whole grains and colorful fruits and vegetables (red peppers, yellow pepper, tomatoes, kiwi).
Drink Enough Water. This will keep your mucous membrances hydrated so that germs have less chance of taking hold in your nose or lungs.
Get Enough Exercise. When the weather outside is below freezing, you’d probably rather stay inside and curl up by the fire (or the TV). But make yourself go outdoors. But exercise strengthens your immune system, so it’s a good idea to keep it up.You’ll feel much more enthusiastic once you’re in the bracing air. Make the routine more appealing by having a buddy along and varying your route and routine. Try a snowball fight!
Don’t Pay Attention To Myths. There’s an age-old belief that you can get a cold by going out in the cold. Not true. Colds and flu are likelier in the winter because people tend to stay inside, increasing the chances of spreading germs among themselves. So staying indoors won’t do you any good; in fact, it might have just the opposite effect.
As for the theory that megadoses of Vitamin C can help avoid colds, researchers have found it’s not true. Vitamin C is beneficial, but it’s better in moderate doses. And it should come from Vitamin C-rich foods like broccoli, oranges and strawberries rather than a supplement.