The colder weather always seems to bring with it the latest bugs. Although, you don’t catch a cold or the flu from getting cold, when the weather changes it tends to dry us out – one reason we’re more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.
You see, skin and our mucous membranes are our first line of defence! So, besides washing your hands with warm water and soap long enough to sing happy birthday, keep in mind that your immune system is more intact when you keep hydrated. Water is the optimal choice, but herbal tea counts too. By adding lemon to green tea, you get a one-two punch of antioxidants from EGCG and Limonene to help keep the bugs at bay. And, here’s a tip: when you’re traveling, consider putting a small amount of petroleum jelly inside your nose using a q-tip. This will add an additional barrier shielding your from viruses vectoring through the air from coughers and sneezers sharing the same plane.
Here’s a surprise: You may spend more time nursing a sore throat, fever, and runny nose than you do on vacation. Add it up: Adults get about three colds a year on average, each lasting a week or two. On top of that, up to 20% of us will also get the flu, which can linger even longer.
Although there’s no cure for cold or flu, building up your immune system IS your best defence…so here are some MORE strategies to do just that…
We know lack of sleep makes us more prone to getting sick so it’s important to get about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Try going to bed and waking up at around the same time too. This fortifies your immune system assuring it’s doing its job to fight off viruses. Keep in mind it’s not just the hours clocked on your pillow, interrupted sleep due to congestion or blocked nasal passages can knock down your immune system. Try a nasal strip that provides instant nasal relief. This is a non-drug, safe, and effective complimentary option that you can use with any other OTC or prescription cold and flu product offering.
Chronic inflammation prevents your immune system from working properly. Add more oily fish to your winter diet. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Echinacea is the only clinically proven natural product to strengthen your immune system. It relieves symptoms and shortens the duration of an infection. There are many variations of Echinacea so make sure to look for supplements made from FRESH extract of organically grown, GMO-free Echinacea purpurea. It comes in liquid spray dispensers and you’ll find them in your local drug or natural health store.
Living north of 40 degrees means you’re low in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. NOW is also the time of year when the sun’s health-giving UVB powers disappear so your body lacks the raw materials to manufacture Vitamin D3, perhaps the single most important nutrient for health and wellness.
In fact November is declared Vitamin D Awareness Month so that Canadians can assess their personal Vitamin D levels and take action to prevent deficiency.
In 2010, the “Canadian Health Measures Survey: Vitamin D Status of Canadians,” found nearly two-thirds of adult Canadians don’t get adequate Vitamin D for optimal health. It’s a risky shortfall, especially given that genetic research has identified thousands of receptors in the human body that are activated by Vitamin D, including sites related to immunity and disease prevention.
Winter is long, so protect your health and try to make the best of it.