10 Ways to keep winter germs at bay

By Drum Digital
18 June 2014

With people coughing, sneezing and sniffing all around you this winter it’s easy to catch a cold. Here are a few tips for staying healthy.

  1. Drink plenty of water: People tend to drink less water in winter than in summer – but water is important to keep your body functioning optimally. Mucous membranes that aren’t dry are more resistant to infection and help your body get rid of harmful substances.
  2. Exercise, exercise, exercise: Exercise improves your immune system and ensures you have more energy. Don’t allow your children to watch TV or play with their computer all winter – let them play outside or go for a walk.
  3. Wash your hands: The simplest way of protecting your family from germs is for everyone to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly. Wash your hands every time you sneeze, cough or blow your nose and when you come home after going out. Keep antibacterial wipes in your handbag and use them.
  4. Go for garlic: If you’re not afraid your colleagues will avoid you, use garlic in your food or take a few garlic pills. Garlic is outstanding at keeping colds and flu at bay and strengthens your immune system.
  5. Consume plenty of vitamin C or use supplements: Try to include a food rich in vitamin C in your family’s diet every day. Fresh fruits such as oranges, naartjies, guavas, broccoli and sweet potatoes are good sources of vitamin C.
  6. Go for a flu injection: Although a flu vaccine is no guarantee you won’t catch flu, it reduces the chances and is 70 to 90 per cent effective. It’s also safe for your children.
  7. Get enough sleep: Go to bed early because too little sleep reduces the operation of your immune system’s natural white blood cell fighters by up to 30 per cent. Make sure your children get more than eight hours’ sleep and when you go to bed put a little blue-gum oil on your pillow. You’ll inhale it all night and it will keep your nose and head clear, and quickly break a cold.
  8. Keep zinc-containing sucking lozenges at hand: As soon as you start coughing or sniffing, suck a lozenge and your cold won’t last long or be as bad as it could have been, research has shown.
  9. Prevent dampness in your house: Damp environments in or around the house are places for germs to thrive and cause colds. Let fresh air into the house by leaving the bathroom window or back door open for a while.
  10. Keep your house clean: To help get rid of germs, clean the surfaces in the house, including the shower, toilet and basin. Wash towels and bedding regularly.

-Janine Nel

Sources: yourparenting.co.za, hygizone.com, health24.com

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