At this time of year, hopefully the last thing on your mind is treating a cold – or worse – its big brother, The Flu. This makes the last month of summer the perfect time to actually start thinking about prevention, before we move into the cooler months, writes Ellie McInerney.
Preventing the cold and flu is easier than dealing with symptoms once you’ve already caught the bug, so if you’re keen to stay flu-free this year, here are the best ways to stop the sniffles before they begin.
Look at your diet
First thing, we want to look at our diet and how our foods our helping or hindering our immune system. Fruit and vegetables are always going to do wonders for our health, so go crazy with the colours and enjoy your favourites from the fresh section of the supermarket.
Antioxidants, Vitamin A, C, E, selenium, zinc and beta-carotene help immune cells work at their best. A good quality pro-biotic can also help prevent the sniffles as it supports the health of the intestinal track, which can improve your body’s defence against the flu virus.
Consuming foods like salmon, which contains Omega 3 fatty acids and a very good quality yogurt with active cultures (preferably fortified with Vitamin D) will give your body a boost in fighting off infection.
Get some sleep
Alongside a clean, healthy and organic (where possible) diet, it’s super important that you are getting adequate sleep as the body needs to rest in order to restore and revive itself. Basically, our bodies are like iPhones, always on, always doing something (those apps are working 24/7 without us even knowing – just like our insides!) so while you’re charging your phone, why not have a nap and recharge yourself at the same time?
Allowing the body adequate rest ensures you are in the best place possible to fight off infections and virus like the cold and flu. Reducing stress levels, regular exercise and drinking plenty of fluids to flush out toxins will help keep your health in optimal state. Getting into a routine now while the summer sun is still out to play, will make things x10 easier once the season changes and our thongs and sunscreen and replaced with gumboots and umbrellas.
Keep it clean
Good hygiene will also help keep bugs at bay, so washing your hands regularly and trying as hard as humanly possible not to scratch at eyes, nose and ears will reduce the spread of germs (I admit this is super challenging!)
What if you do get sick?
So what happens if you’ve been bitten by this snotty bug? Well, if you’ve caught the common cold, the good news is there are heaps of things you can do to reduce the severity and length of its stay. Chicken soup, broth and salty liquids are good because keeping up your fluid intake is essential to flush everything out. Avoid dairy as this encourages mucus production.
Tim Ferriss, author of the New York Times bestseller The Four Hour Work Week, has some pretty cool ideas when it comes to treating a cold once you’ve already caught it. Take some fresh ginger and organic orange peel, cut ginger into small pieces and flatten with a knife to release all the good stuff. Boil this on low heat for 20 minutes, then add the orange rind and boil for a further 10 minutes then drink slowly once it’s cooled down a little.
For muscular aches, enjoy a hot bath with Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) and get plenty of rest. Or you could try the ‘German Solution’ which involves a deep tissue massage, chamomile tea, spiced rum and then – bed! The spiced rum is thought to be effective not so much for the alcoholic effect but rather the cinnamon that is used to spice the rum, as cinnamon is anti-bacterial and high in nutrients.