The ABCs of Cold and Flu Prevention

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  • Adopt the French Way By: Reader's Digest

    The evidence for hands as a major route for transmitting infection is so strong that scientists at the London School of Hygiene recommend greeting friends the French way, with a peck on the cheek rather than a handshake. Or improvise, according to the situation. The next time someone approaches you with palm outstretched, try an "air kiss" or a manly hug instead.
  • Blast Your Sponges in the Microwave Keep your kitchen sponge or cloth germ-free by microwaving it on full power for 2 minutes daily. This kills 99 per cent of micro-organisms. WARNING: Do this only with a damp sponge or cloth – otherwise it’s a fire risk.
  • Call a Friend and Take a Walk One study showed that post-menopausal women who took regular, moderate exercise – brisk walking for 45 minutes five times a week – had up to a three-fold reduction in the number of colds they suffered compared with women who didn’t exercise.
  • Disinfect Household Surfaces Regularly Door handles, taps, television remote controls and refrigerator doors may all be repositories for germs; other culprits include telephones, computer keyboards, light switches, kitchen surfaces and cleaning cloths.
  • Eat Well, Exercise and Sleep A healthy diet – with a generous intake of fruit and vegetables – exercise and 7 hours of sleep daily, can make your body less vulnerable to germs.
  • Fight It With Garlic In a study involving 146 volunteers at the Garlic Centre in East Sussex, half were given a garlic supplement daily and the other half a placebo. During 90 days over the winter, those taking garlic had a total of 24 colds, compared with 65 among those on placebo. People taking garlic supplements who did catch a cold also had a shorter duration of symptoms and a lower risk of reinfection.

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