The changing weather is the basis of a much awaited and contented form of relief from the scorching sun as cloud cover starts to deliver cool winds and breezy shades. It is also, however, an unpredictable time in terms of health and things might take a turn for the worse if one is not careful. One such thing that needs to be considered in particular is the common cold, a likely occurrence and side effect of the changing weather. Here are 10 ways in which preventive measures can be used to tackle the cold, cough and flu.
Washing Hands Frequently
Though it may sound like a gimmick, there is actually quite a lot of truth in some prominent soap ad campaigns that suggest dirty hands to be one of the main causes of various health problems. It is extremely easy for germ transfer to take place via touching unsanitary surfaces, followed by hand contact with the eyes and the nose, which is the fastest route for viruses to enter the body. Sanitizing hands prevents the transfer of bacteria and, according to MedicineNet, “can destroy viruses that you have acquired from touching surfaces used by other people”.
Getting a Flu Vaccine
If you really want to ensure prevention, a flu vaccine is probably the best way to go and should be the first thing on your agenda as soon as the weather starts to show changes. According to Everyday Health, “Studies have found that in healthy adults, the flu vaccine can decrease the chances of coming down with the flu by as much as 70 percent to 90 percent”. This does show that it is not a 100 percent effective and other measures do need to be taken alongside, but it is enough to get you a good head start in order to prevent other symptoms from becoming more severe with time.
Maintaining Your Distance with Others
This might seem a bit harsh, but it is essential that you stay at least two feet away from those who show signs of an oncoming flu. This is true even for family members living within the same vicinity since being too physically close to a person suffering from a cold since viral colds can be contagious for many weeks, even after the cold has subsided and medication is being taken.
Drinking Herbal Tea
When the weather starts to get cooler, it is a good idea to not only keep the body warm externally but also internally. This can be done by drinking teas, especially herbal green teas with ingredients such as fennel, honey and lemon etc. which are excellent for keeping digestion smooth and body detoxified. They are also useful for keeping the nasal passages since steam helps the nose to remain unblocked and mucus flow to be even.
Taking Protein Rich Foods
It is important to remember how vital nutrients can play a huge part in keeping our immune system strong, especially when the seasons are changing. Protein rich foods help to produce ample red blood cells that assist in fighting harmful bacteria from external sources. These foods include eggs, meat, fish, milk and lots of other healthy food items that should be taken regularly.
Quitting Cigarette Smoking
Among the many obvious reasons as to why smoking is harmful, one reason that Health mentions is that “Smoking increases the risk of infections by making structural changes in the respiratory tract and decreasing immune response, according to a study of smokers and infection published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2004”. It is also said that smoking destroys the hairs inside the nose that prevent germs from entering the body while we inhale.
A massage is not only relaxing for the mind, but it also helps tremendously with keeping the body well rested and healthy. The soothing movements of massages help ensure a smooth blood flow by targeting focal points in the body. The release of tension that one experiences in a massage is also very important for the immune system since it relaxes the body internally and externally, making one feel more positive and energetic.
Drinking Lots of Water
During this time, you need to make sure that your body is fully hydrated in order to keep your immune system running. If you throw up or are having trouble keeping water down, then you need to see the doctor.
Sweating it Out
Working out is essential to maintain a smooth flowing immune system. As you exercise, the body releases toxins and harmful bacteria through sweat, and more oxygen is allowed to penetrate the brain. Exercising also makes you thirsty, which is why you drink more water and keep yourself hydrated and fit.
Going to the Doctor
Checking your symptoms, and making sure that nothing seems to be off is crucial. If you do feel like there is a problem or there is something different, then it is a good time to get one of your regular doctor checkups, even if the symptoms do not seem serious. This can prevent an oncoming cold and can help you in the long run.