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Ten tips to beat winter colds and flu

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When winter strikes, so do colds and flu. But it is time to fight back. Most of us grip the tissue box and pray for a first class ticket to Cancun, but fortunately there is relief closer to home.  It can be hard to think straight when your head feels like a basketball, so here are ten effective ways to kill the chill.

1. Don’t stress!

Stress is often cited as a nasty precursor to deflating your immune system and leaving you more vulnerable to sneaky viruses. If you feel run-down or over-stretched try a few stress relieving techniques to strengthen your immunity to colds and flu. Try breathing exercises, taking time for brief walks, leaving the office for a breath of fresh air and maybe treating your aching muscles to a warm bath and a good book.

2. Say no to antibiotics

Colds are viruses and unfortunately do not respond to antibiotics, so resist the temptation to attack your pesky cold with non-effective treatments. Giving children counter cold and flu medicines is also a no-no, as there is little clinical evidence to support their effectiveness and they can leave the little ones with side-effects. If you are concerned about the intensity your cold, seek advice from your GP.

3. Breathe easy

Saline sprays and drops, as well as inhaling steam from a hot shower, can help ease nasal congestion.

4. Clean it up

The best way to stop the spread of colds and flu is to maintain strict hygiene, so make sure hands are always washed with soap, avoid sharing cups and cutlery, and invest in some antibacterial hand gel to keep from infecting others.

5. Warm up

Keep the body warm by eating hot, nutrient rich food. Your immune system will thank you for it. Warm yourself from the inside out by drinking fresh tea such as honey and lemon tea, which has both antibacterial qualities from the honey and a high vitamin C content from the lemon. And why not take advantage of your cold with comforting warm soups, cute hot water bottles, fluffy slippers, a soft robe and a cosy beanie? Warning: not a great look for the neighbours, so feel free to stay indoors!

6. Drink your fill…

An important part of flushing out bacteria and nasties – is the actual flushing! Keep water everywhere. Take a bottle to bed, to work and by your side while you read or watch TV. Water is vital to all bodily functions, so aid your natural defences by providing the right tools.

7. …And eat your greens.

Avoiding oily food, butter and spreads is difficult when you are fatigued and cranky, but resist the urge to splurge, at least until after the departure of your snotty visitor. Your body mends quicker and more efficiently with wholesome foods. Yes – Mum was right.

Fruit and vegetables have natural antioxidants which are an incredible advantage in the battle against winter cold and flu. Dietitians swear that eating your vegies provides the necessary components to stave off illness. As the bard advises, “Let food be thy medicine.” 

8. Take care of your throat

Lozenges can help ease the discomfort of a sandpaper throat. Sucking on ice for children can soothe a little person in pain. That honey and lemon tea is also a Mary Poppins remedy for children with a cough, because it’s sweet as well as healthy.

9. The bogeyman

Don’t panic if you start seeing green or even yellow mucous. While green snot is most likely not your favourite subject, it is an important part of reading your natural defences because it means the body is fighting off the infection. Parents tend to worry about this sign but it is a normal process and does not require medical attention. A cough is usually the last thing to leave and can last two weeks longer than the rest of the symptoms.

10. Rest your cold away

Colds and flus are often your body’s way of telling you to ‘slow down’. During a cold your bed is your best friend (and the alarm clock is your nemesis). Do not feel guilty about taking that extra day to show your body you love it. This may help shorten the length of your cold.

Cold and Flu tips

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Posted On: 24 July, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


Created by: myVMC