There are lots of good things about winter, but for many of us heading into the cooler months of the year, it can raise concerns about the increased risk for colds and flu. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce our risk.
Good hygiene is the best way to reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu;
This is one of the most important things we can do to lower our risk. Washing thoroughly using soap and water prevents germs from passing person to person. Ensure hands are clean before handling food for yourself or anyone else.
Most people know to use a tissue when blowing their nose, but many will cough straight into their hands (or elbows, as is the way children are taught in schools). Whilst this is better than not using anything at all, the germs still remain on the clothes and skin. Try to get into the habit of coughing and sneezing straight into a tissue, then discarding the used tissue before washing hands thoroughly.
Regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer mouse, keyboard and phone will reduce the risk of spreading germs in the office. At home, wipe the surfaces of areas in the house that get a lot of contact such as door handles, chairs and eating surfaces.
This might seem like an obvious one but it is relatively common for family members to share food either on common plates or sharing of serving spoons. Whilst this becomes critical when a family member becomes unwell, it’s a good habit to get into during all those well months too.
To avoid cold and flu symptoms spreading amongst family members it is best to avoid sharing bath as well as hand towels. Have a separate towel for each person when someone in the family falls ill.
It’s a good idea to start supporting your immune system for a few months before winter. Eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to boost your antioxidant and vitamin C intake. Cooking with ginger and garlic is another natural way to boost your immune system.
For those that know they are more susceptible to winter colds and flu, you might like to consider taking a supplement. Look for products containing vitamin C, zinc, garlic, echinacea and elderflower; start taking a few months before the onset of winter (early autumn is a good time) to naturally help support your immunity.
Ensure you keep up your exercise regime throughout the colder months and get at least 15 minutes sunlight exposure on your arms and legs each day. This will keep your vitamin D levels healthy which is essential for the proper functioning of your immune system.
Should you or a family member start to show the signs of a cold, then Potter’s Cold and Flu range of products based on traditional medicine may assist.