Do you spend most of your winter days dreading the inevitable illnesses that cold weather brings? Is your healthy lifestyle being compromised by cold mornings and gloomy evenings? Or are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired? We all know that the cold seasons bring a big decrease in our willingness to get out of bed in the mornings, and a big increase in flu viruses within the community. But, does winter really have to be bed sentence for all of us?
Here are 5 surprising ways you can prevent flu this winter
1. Vitamin D Supplements
For most of us, the word ‘flu’ immediately triggers a mental image of hot toddies, nasal spray, and heaped piles of crumpled tissues. So, when you feel that familiar tickle in the back of your throat, you might feel inclined to stop off at your local supermarket and stock up on pulpy orange juice, lemon & honey cough lozenges, and other Vitamin C bearing supplements to build up your immunity. However, a recent study by the British Medical Journal has shown that there could be a new go-to Vitamin for flu prevention.
Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D – which is vital for increased immunity as well as healthy muscles and bones – through exposure to sunlight, which is harder for it to do in wintertime. Therefore, the colder months can often lead to a loss of these “antimicrobial weapons” and an increase in bacteria and viruses. So, if you want to prevent a miserable, flu-ridden winter, Vitamin D could be the little ray of sunshine you’re looking for!
If you suspect you might have a vitamin deficiency, you should speak with a doctor.
2. Get A Handle On Your House!
It’s not always possible to avoid germs entering your home, but you can prevent flu germs spreading if you clean properly. While routine hand washing and bench wiping will certainly help you battle an infestation, experts in housekeeping, Good House Keeping, say that a lot of commonly handled areas of the home are overlooked, such as appliance handles, tap faucets, remote controls, light switches, phones, and – of course – door handles.
Bed rest is essential if you’re battling off bugs, so be sure to put your bed sheets and pillow cases through a hot wash. Once your sheets are clean, it’s a good idea to put the washing machine through another cycle before putting on your next load, to prevent any remaining bacteria from spreading.
3. Get A Patch
Don’t like needles? Well, BBC News has recently reported on a revolutionary new way to boost your immunity and prevent flu infection.
While vaccines are essential for preventing certain health issues, they can be painful and unpleasant. As a result, people with chronic needle phobias may choose not to get immunised – which can have an impact on other people in the community. Therefore, experts from Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a completely pain-free alternative to the flu jab. The patch, which is straightforward enough for people to stick directly on themselves, has hundreds of hair-like micro-needles that penetrate the surface of the skin.
The regular flu injection normally punctures the skin and muscle, which can cause an achiness that usually lasts a few days. The plaster, however, only punctures the top layers of skin, making it entirely painless.
That’s not the only benefit, though. Unlike the current flu injection, the plaster doesn’t need to be refrigerated. This means that pharmacies and doctors clinics will have the capacity to stock a lot of plasters, and meet a greater patient demand. Furthermore, the straightforward application could make it possible for people to vaccinate themselves from home!
4. Oils Are Essential
While herbal medicine has a tendency to raise a few eyebrows, if you want to prevent the flu from getting you this winter, Mother Nature might just be your go-to-girl. Viruses such as cold and flu thrive when the air is cool and dry, as the lack of humidity can dry out the nasal passage and make it difficult to trap micro-bugs. Inhaling essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus can help to keep nasal passages moist.
According to Dr. Low Dog, other natural remedies that can also help prevent flu include black elderberries, oregano, ginger, garlic, and nutmeg. Onions are also said to have huge health benefits, helping with ailments such as cold and flu, congestion, toothaches, and ear infections.
5. Make Time to Take Time
While maintaining an active lifestyle is important for your general health, overexertion could predispose you to illness. Between work, gym, and family commitments, we could all benefit from an extra few hours in the day to keep on top of things – and finding a spare moment just to just catch your breath and relax can feel impossible. In order to prevent flu and other illnesses, you need to ensure that you make time to take time. Being stressed, sleep-deprived, or physically exhausted can drastically increase your likelihood of getting sick.
When flu season is in full swing, make sure you listen to what your body is telling you. If you think you might be immune compromised or at risk of contracting something, schedule in an extra hour of sleep in the morning, keep warm, and try to avoid strenuous activity. Just remember, by taking a little bit of time out now, you could save yourself from having to take a lot of time out later!
While the steps above can help combat the common cold and prevent flu from striking, preventative measures won’t always stop an infection from spreading. Remember, Influenza is a highly contagious and dangerous virus – so you should visit a doctor if you have any concerns regarding your health and well-being.
Need more useful tips on preventing flu and keeping healthy? Contact the expert medical team at Algester Medical and Acacia Ridge Family Practice today on (07) 3711 2880.