As if we didn’t have enough to contend with already this year, autumn has arrived, and that means cold and flu season is underway. For some, weeks of sniffling, sneezing and generally feeling a little under par lie ahead.
Disclaimer – This blog is a light hearted piece of content that addresses some simple tips to keep healthy over this period. We absolutely understand that this isn’t curing anyone of what is currently going on at the moment. Keeping healthy is something that everyone can put focus on doing especially now. Stay safe, keep making healthy choices and keep those germs at bay.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from unwanted germs, and if you do succumb to the dreaded lurgies, how can you get back to full health as quickly as possible?
5 Ways to help yourself when it comes to the colder months
Autumn tip 1 – Don’t neglect your general health
We all know that a healthy diet and exercise will help keep your immune system strong, but just how good is your nutrition, and how active are you?
You should make sure you eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and take 30 minutes of exercise to help keep your body in good condition. I know this sounds pretty outdated but even if it is the least you do, it is a healthy move.
If you don’t like fruit and vegetables, consider new ways to ensure you don’t deprive your body. Blend up a smoothie: It’s not as nutritious as eating an actual piece of fruit but is better than nothing.
Make a vegetable soup: Warming and tasty, this is a superb way of getting your five a day in one sitting. Choose delicious veggies such as butternut squash, parsnip and broccoli and add spices to keep recipes interesting.
Cutting out smoking and reducing your alcohol intake is also a sensible idea. Completely understand that with what is going on currently those vices are going to be harder to cut down, but it will be worth it over these months that we are more prone to catching things.
Autumn tip 2 – Get enough sleep
You may think you can function on just five or six hours of sleep per night. Still, the reality is that those who get less than six hours sleep are on average more likely to get a cold than those who sleep for seven hours or more. Certain studies have suggested that lack of sleep can take its toll on the immune system.
Sleep is critical for health, so if you’re a night owl, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night over five days. You’ll gain an extra hour and 15 minutes sleep overall and will barely notice your earlier bedtime.
If you find it difficult to drop-off once your head hits the pillow, try the following tricks to help you:
Spray a little lavender on your pillow and bedsheets. It’s soothing, calming and can help induce sleep. Essential oils are FABULOUS at helping you feel more relaxed and at ease.
Make the final hour before you go to bed a ‘device-free zone’. Switch off your phone, avoid your computer and the TV and instead read a book or magazine. Doing so takes you away from the blue light, which is emitted from smartphones and computers and may inhibit your sleep.
Autumn tip 3 – Wash your hands
This has been drilled into us all recently, but it shouldn’t take a pandemic to make us reconsider our personal hygiene.
Anything you can do to avoid exposing yourself to a cold virus will reduce your chances of catching it. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, and carrying sanitizer with you, means you won’t pick up germs or transfer them to others so easily.
Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with dirty hands.
Cover your mouth if you do cough or sneeze.
Autumn tip 4 – Teach our children to be mindful
Kids are renowned for being lurgy carriers. They can pass colds on very easily to those who come into contact with them.
Teach your child to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. Schools so far have brilliant at helping with this.
Make sure your child washes their hands regularly to minimize the risk of passing on germs.
Easier said than done – we know.
Autumn tip 5 – Be mindful of others
Often, it’s challenging to make the decision to take a sick day away from work or other commitments, but if you are a ball of germs, the sensible option is to have a duvet day. This is not only in the interest of those around you, but you’ll also recover more quickly with some rest, allowing your body time to heal.
If you do succumb to a cold this autumn here’s what you can do to speed up your recovery:
Stay hydrated. Drink water, juice, or a hot lemon drink with some added honey. This helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration.
Keep up with any additional vitamins that you may take.
Take the recommended pain relief dosage for an adult or child, such as a decongestant, painkiller, or antihistamine if you feel really rotten.
Rest your body to allow it to heal.
Gargle salt-water if you have a sore throat. Use a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8ozs of warm water. This is not recommended for children.
Speak with your pharmacist and try an over the counter cough or cold remedy.
Your immune system is a remarkable thing and is highly efficient at dealing with most colds and viruses, so remember, however annoying and frustrating it is, you will likely recover from a cold in a few days.
Keeping healthy during this time of year is more important now more than ever. If you are doing some simple things to stay healthy then you are doing well.