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When winter comes along, it is common for people to catch the common cold, flu, and even respiratory infections, especially during the holiday season. Although this may seem purely coincidental, the experts will state that there are real tangible reasons for this:
One of the primary reasons that diseases like this spread like wildfire at this time of year is that many of us are traveling all over the country, visiting friends and family during the holidays. Upon arriving at our destination, we then spend hours (if not several days) with our loved ones in their homes which will allow the germs to spread. Finally, winter usually brings cold weather, an environmental factor that reduces our immune system’s ability to ward off diseases, thus increasing the probability that we will succumb to the diseases that we encounter as we intermingle with everyone.
Medical experts have long said that you need to protect yourself from getting sick during this time of year, and this is something that you must do if you want to truly enjoy the festive season.
Here are 5 simple tips that will help to reduce the possibility of you getting sick and stay healthy throughout the entire winter and holiday season.
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1. Always Eat Healthy Foods
In order to stay healthy and keep our immune system at optimal levels, we have to eat right.
Think of nutrients as the components of a car. Without gasoline or an engine that is running properly, the vehicle will cease to function normally. In the same way, getting the right amount of nutrients in our body helps us to “run” properly as well.
Vitamin C has long been touted as a vitamin that can ward off sickness. It also helps to keep our immune system functioning at high levels. Some of the best sources for this vitamin include broccoli, kiwifruit, and a balanced amount of other fruits and vegetables added to our diet on a regular basis.
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2. Always Keep Your Hands Clean
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and viruses is to continually wash your hands, especially after you come into body contact with other people.
Bacteria and microbes can travel when we have physical contact with other people, either through shaking their hands or simply giving them a hug. People will be constantly sneezing, placing their hands up to their face to cover, which can increase the chances of germs getting spread.
The best way to wash your hands according to the experts is to use soap, lather up for at least 20 seconds, and then rinse with liberal amounts of water to make sure everything is squeaky clean. Doing this will help prevent the spreading of germs.
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3. Getting Enough Sleep
Although sleeping regularly is good for maintaining high energy levels, it is also mandatory if you want to make sure that your immune system is fully functional. This also will prevent you from becoming vulnerable to catching a cold or the flu during this time of year.
White blood cells, which helps the body fight off infections, can actually decrease dramatically within the body if you don’t get enough sleep. This has been shown in studies recently done in the country of Brazil.
In general, the average person should try to get around seven or eight hours of sleep every day. Not just catnaps, but uninterrupted sleep during the night so that your body can rejuvenate as you rest.
4. Exercising On A Regular Basis
Especially during winter, moderate levels of exercise, done on a regular basis, have been shown to improve your immune system’s ability to ward off diseases and infections. It is extremely important during cold winters.
Several exercises during the wintertime can be very beneficial for strengthening the immune system. Depending upon how bad the weather is, you may actually want to do your workouts indoors instead.
You can try doing yoga, swimming in an indoor pool, or simply taking a fitness class at your local fitness club. If the weather does lighten up, running, walking and riding your bike for several miles can also help your immune system maintain optimal functionality.
5. Flu Shots
It is commonly thought that a flu shot will protect you against “the flu”, which is actually the result of contracting a virus which may lead to catching a cold.
In actuality, flu shots are designed to protect against influenza which is a virus that can cause respiratory illness, high levels of fatigue, and fevers. Influenza can also be fatal, which is why getting an annual vaccination is recommended.
Although the flu season typically starts in the month of October, if you have not received one by that time, vaccinations can still be obtained as late as January in many locations.
Staying well during the winter season can be difficult for many people. It is exceptionally trying if you are visiting friends and family during the holidays.
However, by taking the preventive measures we’ve just shared with you in this article, you will be able to give your body’s immune system a big boost, allowing you to stay healthy throughout the entire winter and holiday season.
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