It’s the season of sniffles — so how can you protect yourself from the dreaded lurgy?
You’re more vulnerable to a cold when you’re run down, so listen to your mother and rest up. A solid eight hours a night strengthens your immune system and reduces stress, which is another key cause of a virus. And taking a day off work not only helps you rest up, but also stops you from spreading your germs around the office.
Flush out that bacteria with plenty of H2O, and cut down on dehydrating diuretics like alcohol and caffeine. Tea and good ol’ fashioned chicken soup both do the trick, too — plus, warm liquids soothe a sore throat.
Come to think of it, a lemon, ginger and honey tea is perfect because lemon is loaded with Vitamin C, as well as acid to fight the phlegm. Cold-fighting Vitamin C is found in other citrus fruits and most fruits, for that matter.
Honey’s packed with antibacterial properties that help your body heal when it’s been battered by a cold — take a spoonful as soon as you start to feel a sore throat coming on. Garlic has a rather different taste, but a similar effect.
Pump some good bacteria back into your body with a tub of yoghurt, stimulating the immune system in your gut. It doesn’t cure your cold but it can speed up your recovery by getting those probiotics back into your system.
Cold and flu tablets ease congestion in a blocked nose, but if the problem is a runny nose, reach for an antihistamine to dry things up instead. Act as quickly as possible before the bacteria bunkers in.
Zinc supplements are a recent fad, and studies are still divided — but believers argue zinc lozenges reduce the duration of a cold as well as the severity of the symptoms. Regular supplements also strengthen your immunity.
You can manually flush out the mucus clogging up your nose with these over-the-counter sprays — up the nose and away it goes.
Perspiring is another way of flushing out all that gunk, as well as firing up your immune system and lowering your fever. Smother your next meal in chilli sauce or tuck into a Vindaloo to open up those sinuses and stop infection from setting in.
A full-on workout doesn’t help you rest up but moving your body boosts immune function and relieves that sickness-causing stress. Obviously don’t go outside if it’s raining sideways but catching a few rays on a sunny day gives you some much-needed Vitamin D, too.