What are your best tips for preventing a cold? While you might think that everybody knows how to prevent illness, especially the standard winter illnesses, recent surveys have suggested that plenty of people don’t wash their hands. And while stocking up the medicine cabinet is a great precaution, there are plenty of natural prevention methods. Here are some of the less well-known tips for preventing cold and flu.
1. Wash up to Your Elbows
You are probably used to being told to wash your hands to avoid illness, but there’s a good reason for that – it’s simply one of the best tips for preventing cold and flu! Studies have shown that the forearm holds more bacteria than even the armpit, so washing up to your elbow will drastically reduce your chances of getting ill. If you are interested, the other top germ-harboring body parts are the palms, index fingers, back of the knee and the soles of your feet, according to the University of Colorado.
2. Bone Soup!
Okay, I’m not suggesting that you go cannibal and start tucking into bones, but it appears that the chicken soup theory holds some water. Adding bone marrow into your diet encourages your body to produce immune-boosting white blood cells, which then offer further protection against infection, illness and disease. The easiest way? Add organic, free-range bones into soups and stews.
3. Elderberry Boost
Add a dose of elderberry syrup into your daily diet, and you’ll be much less likely to get ill. These dark berries contain a number of antioxidants and vitamins, and elderberries are great for your heart, eyes and lungs, too. Choose an organic syrup if possible, as these tend to be lower in fructose corn syrup, colors, flavorings and preservatives – meaning your body gets pure immune-boosting power.
4. Trim Your Nails
Did you see the recent University of Michigan study into nail sizes? After studying the nail lengths of healthcare professionals, it found that ladies with nails longer than 3mm had plenty of bacteria under their nails – but only 18% of ladies with shorter nails had that same bacteria. We use our nails all the time, and are always touching our faces or putting them in our mouths, so keeping them clean is essential. Use a nail brush when you wash your hands, and keep them trimmed, too.
5. Humidifiers Rule
Winter is full of cold, dry air, and that causes havoc for your skin. It also dries out the sinuses, nasal passages and throat, which can significantly reduce your immune system. A humidifier is ideal for adding moisture back into the air, and you can further boost your immunity by using a saline nasal rinse in the evening.
6. Skip the Refill
It’s a common myth that red wine can boost immunity – so it’s no wonder that people often indulge in a second or third glass. However, indepth studies published in BMC Immunology showed that while one glass of red wine does offer some health benefits, more than one glass infact reduces your white blood cell’s ability for up to 24 hours afterwards.
7. Massage Away the Bacteria
As strange as it sounds, massage has been proven to boost the body’s immunity. A regular massage during the winter will help you to fight off any bugs or illness, as well as increasing production of Oxytocin and relieving stress. Win-win.
8. Big Breaths
Some doctors believe that breathing deeply can help to fight off conditions that affect the lungs, such as chest infections and pneumonia. They recommend practicing breathing into your stomach – a big breath that makes your belly swell – for a count of three, and exhaling to a count of three too. Practice regularly, and you’ll soon breathe like this naturally.
9. Sleep in!
Not getting enough sleep? Now is a good time to refine your sleeping habits. The Archives of Internal Medicine found that the immune system is most active during the night, and study participants who slept for less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis were three times more likely to get ill. If you do get ill, sleeping more can also fight off the illness quicker.
10. An Orange a Day…
Taking vitamin C and Echinacea during the cold and flu season can strengthen and boost your immune system massively. It’s recommended that adults take 2000 – 5000mg of Vitamin C, and around 700mg of Echinacea daily, but check with your doctor to find the perfect doses for you (and make sure it won’t clash with any medications).
These ten tips for preventing a cold are the least well-known: but the most effective. Stick to them, and you’ve got the best chance of escaping through this cold season without needing to resort to tissues and Lemsip! Have you got a cold-busting tip? I’d love to hear it!