Top Tips on Coping with Colds and Flu
It is the time of year when people with snotty noses and sore throats can clog up GP surgeries, putting more pressure on an over-burdened health system! The repeated warnings that antibiotics are unsuitable for the common cold and flu is being heard, but what are the best ways to cope with these illnesses and avoid a trip to the doctors?
- Stay at home and rest - When you are sneezing, coughing and have a snotty nose, you won’t get much work done and rest is one of our greatest tools to recover from a cold or flu. Convalescence means ‘to grow fully strong’, and is an important stage of illness recovery.
- Drink plenty of fluits - You will probably find liquids more appealing that solid food when you are under the weather, and your body needs a minimum amount of water each day which will help in the clearance of toxins. A fever will lead to a loss of body fluids so replacing these can help prevent dehydration.
- Sleep - When you are sleeping the body can repair itself, so don’t worry if you continue to nod off.
- Use steam inhalation - Inhaling steam with menthol has been shown to ease nasal congestion making some symptoms easier to bear.
- Watch your stress levels - Excess stress is detrimental to the immune system. Ever noticed how you’re more likely to get a cold when you have a big deadline at work or how exam students are always out sick? Continued cortisol release (your stress hormone) lowers your immune response which can result in illness. Prolonged periods of stress can also deplete essential nutrients such as vitamin c, vitamin b and magnesium.
Besides coping with the symptoms of colds and flu, you can take steps to help your body’s immunity, and avoid the germs in the first place,
- Avoid huddling and heating – People travelling together on crowded public transport makes it easier for germs to spread, and central heating can dry the protective mucous in our nasal passages so that infections can take hold.
- Eat your vegetables – Eating a rainbow colour of vegetables can provide nutrients that support our immune systems. Vitamin C and Vitamin A contribute to the normal function of the immune system.
- Chase the sunshine - The vitamin D we get from the sunshine contributes to the normal function of our immune immune system. However, during the winter months where the hours of sunshine are reduced (and normally while we are working) it is important to make an extra effort to catch some rays. Pop outside on your lunchbreak, find a sunny spot and roll up your sleeves if you can.
- Zinc up your life - Zinc plays a part in the normal functioning of the immune system. You can find zinc in pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, quinoa, lentils, seafood and red meat. You can supplement it by taking a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Follow these simple tips to help you survive the winter and those visits to the doctors surgery.