Health officials are predicting a bad cold and flu season this year. This means that it’s important to be prepared with a strong immune system and with the tools you need to arm yourself even when sniffly and sneezing symptoms come your way. Here are some easy tips to help get you and your family ready:
TIP #1: Practice good hygiene
- Wash your hand with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to wash your kids’ hands when they come home from school, and make sure to wash your hands whenever you return from public places (such as public transit or the grocery store).
- If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an antibacterial hand sanitizer. Not a replacement for good hand washing, but works great in a pinch!
- Don’t cover your mouth with your hands when coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue or do the “sleeve sneeze”
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands to prevent any invading germs
TIP #2: Sleep and Stress Management
- Get plenty of sleep. This can help prevent the cold and flu by giving your body a chance to rest and recover, and also allows your immune system to get stronger. Ideally, you want to develop a bedtime routine (not just for kids!), and make sure you head to bed at the same time every night in order to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
- Feeling a little stressed? Lavender essential oil is a soothing scent that promotes calmness and relaxation. You can use it in a diffuser or even add a few drops of essential oil to a bottle of water and spritz lightly on your pillow or in the air before bedtime
- If you’re having troubles falling asleep and staying asleep, a melatonin supplement can help
TIP #3: Eat the Right Foods
- Make sure to drink 8-12 cups of water per day to prevent dehydration. When you are dehydrated, it is easier for viruses to find their way into your system and promote infection
- Hot fluids such as tea and soups can help alleviate nasal congestion. In fact, there is a specific compound found in chicken soup that has a decongestant effect; so in conjunction with hot broth, you’re getting an additional immune boost
- A healthy diet is one of your best bets for staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong. Make sure your diet includes plenty of the following nutrient-packed foods:
- Yogurt: Contains probiotics (“good” bacteria) that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses in the digestive tract. Probiotics can also be beneficial to replenish good bacteria during antibiotic use
- Green tea: Contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help your body fight infection. Green tea also counts towards your fluid intake!
- Deep orange fruits and dark green vegetables: These are packed with immune-boosting nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in fruits (oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries) and dark green, yellow and red vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, tomato juice). You can also boost your intake with a vitamin C supplement, which will not only help to shorten the duration of a cold, but may also reduce the severity of your symptoms
- Fish: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are “good” fats found in fish such as salmon that help to strengthen the body’s resistance to infection. If you struggle to get enough fish in your diet, an omega-3 supplement can help provide you with the omega-3s you need, without the fishy aftertaste!
- Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D has been shown to weaken your immune system. While milk is a good source, you’d have to consume around 10 cups to obtain 1,000 IU. This is when a vitamin D supplement can make it easy to get your required daily dose
TIP #4: Incorporate Natural Supplements
If you’ve practiced good hygiene, got your 7-9 hours of sleep each night, managed your stress, and even eaten all the right foods and you STILL feel like you’re coming down with a cold, don’t worry, there’s still hope!
Jamieson Cold Fighter is the perfect solution for those times when you start to feel those first signs of a cold coming on - like a sore throat or stuffy nose. Cold Fighter is an all-natural product that combines four cold-fighting ingredients: Echinacea, ginger, zinc and vitamin C, all shown to help strengthen your immune system when you start to feel under the weather. What makes it even easier, is that all you need is one soft gel or chewable tablet per day to fight early signs of cold and flu symptoms and help shorten the duration and severity of your symptoms.
Have any cold and flu questions? Write to us in the comments below or visit some of our cold and flu blogs for more immune-boosting tips this season.