Dark and cold months of the year, large temperature swing, physical and mental stress, and poor diet are all stressors that weaken our immune system making us susceptible to infections. To prevent colds and flu, it is important to minimize the sources of external and internal immune system stress. These 10 ways to prevent colds and flu work anytime of the year but are particularly effective in the dark, cold months of the year.
Off with the germs
Touching things that get touched by a lot of people – doorknobs, elevator buttons, printer and fax machine buttons, surfaces in all public areas – will expose you to unwanted germs. To lower your risk of infection, wash your hands often and sanitize your space regularly.
Fresh air is important to good health. Provide fresh air by opening doors and windows, even in the winter months.
You can also install vents in bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen. These vents usually have a fan that connects to a duct. When switched on, the vents pull stale air from the room and replace it with fresh air.
Diffusing essential oils is another way to freshen up the air and kill airborne germs in your home and office.
Make sure room humidity doesn’t get too low or too high. Adequate room humidity prevents dry skin, eyes and nasal passages. Try to keep the humidity level between 30- 40%.
Very low humidity dries the mucus in the nasal passages making you more susceptible to colds. It can cause nose bleeds and dehydration. The drier the room, the colder you’ll feel which has a stressful effect on the body and mind.
Very high humidity provides a perfect environment for viruses, bacteria, dust mites and mold, particularly if the rooms are very warm.
If you need a humidifier to keep adequate humidity in your rooms, make sure to keep it very clean to prevent harboring microbes.
Dress for the cold
This might sound obvious but many people don’t dress warm enough in winter, especially when Spring is around the corner. Always dress in layers and have a plan for when temperatures fluctuate more than normal.
Aromatherapy is a wonderful ally in the winter months. It can provide you with a bight sunshine mood in the middle of the dreariest gray days. Try clary sage, rosemary, peppermint, geranium, neroli and frankincense.
Physical activity reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, improves sleep and makes you feel more relaxed. Aim for 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
Make it sunny
Expose yourself as much as possible to the sun in the winter months. Sun light fixes Vitamin D in our systems. This happens through the skin although some studies rebuke this. Sun light also has a positive effect on the mind which helps lower stress levels.
Sweat it out
Studies have concluded that regular sauna can reduce the incidence of common colds.
Aromatherapy salt bath is beneficial to prevent colds. Essential oils used in aromatherapy salt baths are usually antibiotic and antiviral. Breathing in the essential oils while in the tub can help clear the nasal passages and kill any microbes lurking in it.
Dish it up
Diet plays an important part in disease prevention. To prevent a cold, it is important to increase the intake of natural sources of vitamins A, C and E.
Vitamin C is abundantly present in bell peppers, acerola, rose hips, seaberry, black currants, parsley, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, citrus fruits, papaya and tomatoes. It increases the immune defenses of the body. It aids in the elimination of metabolic waste.
Vitamin A protects the mucus membranes while vitamin E stabilizes the membranes.
Enough sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system. Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep everyday.
How do you prevent colds and flu?
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