It’s that time of year again! The outside temperatures begin to plummet and the inevitable runny nose and coughing soon follows. Although there is no know cure for colds and the flu, there are ways to prevent the symptoms from occurring. One of the main ways to naturally prevent the cold is by boosting your immune system; the system in your body that helps to keep you healthy and strong.
Below are some ways to naturally prevent a cold or flu:
1. Wash your hands – This tips sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how many children and adults will neglect this one simple method. Don’t simply rely on the anti-bacterial lotions. A cold is a viral not bacterial so those lotions will not necessarily work. Most colds and flus are spread by contact so be sure to use warm water and soap several times a day to keep your hands clean.
2. Don’t sneeze into your hands – Again, contact is the number 1 way to spread a cold or flu virus, so instead of using your hands to cup a sneeze or cough..use a tissue instead. Germs and viruses will cling to bare hands so using a tissue or the inside part of your elbow will help in the spread or contraction of the cold or flu.
3. Eat your veggies – It’s important to keep your body healthy and strong and what better way than eating vegetables. Dark green leafy vegetables will give your immune system the boost required to fight viruses. Instead of reaching for a pill, load up on your veggies. A great way to do this is by drinking a green smoothie several times a week. Simply add a handful of spinach, a cup of water, strawberries, bananas or fruits of your choice along with honey and some ice cubes to your blender and give it a whirl. Even your pickiest eater will enjoy the deliciousness of this smoothie.
4. Go for a walk or run – Although this may seem like an odd way to prevent a cold or flu it is essential for your body. Aerobic exercise, such as running or walking will speed up the heart to pump larger quantities of blood. This process will make you breathe faster and help to transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood as well as and make you sweat once your body heats up. These exercises help increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells found in your immune system.
5. Rest your body – Try not to be an over achiever during the winter months. Your body needs rest and when it sleeps it will regain the strength necessary to boost your immune system. An over tired body will be more susceptible to viruses such as a cold or flu. It is essential to sleep at least 6 to 7 hours a night to allow the body to heal from daily stressors.
6. Herbs work – If you happen to feel the symptoms of a cold or flu approaching, reach for a hot cup of elderberry or ginseng tea. These herbs have calming and healing properties that will boost the immune system.
7. Clean all surfaces – The cold and flu virus is spread by contact so it is important to keep all contact surfaces clean. It’s important to clean surfaces such as door knobs, doors, counter tops and telephones. As well as surfaces that many seem to miss such as computer keyboards, remote controls and game controllers. Wipe them down with alcohol based cleaners or one of our family favorites – Clorox wipes, which are portable and easily accesible.
8. Calm down – Having a the cold or flu is not easy and certainly something that will increase the stress levels of many individuals. It’s important to relax and calm down. Practicing your breathing techniques and relaxing your mind will help to increase the interleukins in your blood stream which also help to increase your immune system. Relaxing the mind is something that is learned and with time can be easily achieved, and will benefit your health and entire lifestyle.