Prevent Getting the Cold and Flu in These Ten Ways
Change of season as much as during the monsoons can have you sniffling, coughing, feverish. You don’t have to succumb to cold and the flu just because the weather has turned inclement, or the season is changing. There are some basic hygiene practices which you should follow, even if COVID-19 has abated in the region you live in. Add to that, lifestyle modifications which will actually prevent you from picking up various infections.
- Hygiene Trumps Every Other Kind of Care
Hygienic practices are the first, and most important step towards preventing catching colds and viral infections like influenza (flu). Wash your hands every time you come in from outside. You must wash your hands every time you use the washroom, shake hands with anyone, and before eating, cutting fruits and vegetables, cooking, and serving food. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands, or at least sanitizing them. Use only clean towels and napkins in the kitchen and washroom. When washing hands is not a viable option, sanitize them. Always keep a bottle of some alcohol based sanitizer handy. Sanitize every surface that you and your family members come in contact with, be it in office or at home. This includes the surfaces of tables, cabinets, chairs, books, mobile phones, remote controls of the TV and air conditioner, laptop keyboards (especially in the office), and stationery items. If there are small or growing children in the home, then don’t forget to wash or sanitize toys.
- Fight Cold and Flu With These Fruits
The best way to prevent cold and flu is to build up your immunity. Fruits and vegetables hold the key to boosting your immunity. Berries ― blackberries, gooseberries (amla), blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries ― are loaded with Vitamin C, and polyphenols to help you ward off cold, which is caused by a rhinovirus, and viruses like flu. Pineapples are rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids, which reduce the risk of chronic disease. Their anti-inflammatory properties help you cope with the symptoms of flu and cold. Apples are also packed with flavonoids, and numerous nutrients which build up your immunity. The chosen fruits for building immunity would be the citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, grapes, kiwis, pears, and clementines. Watermelons help you hydrate, while the lycopene in it is a powerful antioxidant which helps build immunity.
Bananas will not only energize you; they will feed the good bacteria in your alimentary canal to promote good digestion as they are prebiotics. This means that you are better able to digest and absorb nutrients from the food you eat to boost your immunity. Custard apples are also good prebiotics.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration is the best way to eliminate toxins, and other harmful elements from your system. Therefore, you should drink plenty of water every day. If you are unable to drink plain water in large quantities, then soak some sugar crystals (misri), and add water to it to drink a full glass every two hours. You can squeeze in some lemon drops to add to the taste. Hydration is also possible if you drink green tea, lassi, and fruit juice.
- Make Your Own Vapor Rub
Take some eucalyptus oil, and blend in mint leaves and camphor in it. This can be warmed and rubbed on the chest, and nose to decongest a clogged nose, and lungs to breathe easily. Since it is a natural, home made product, it can be a safe option to give relief, and prevent a common cold from deteriorating into bronchitis or pneumonia. Ordinary steam inhalation is often used to clear the sinuses. If you boil mint leaves in water, then the menthol in them is released, and helps in clearing air passageways when you inhale the steam.
Remember how your grandmother insisted that curds should be a part of your daily diet? She was right as the western world is only just waking up to the benefits of taking probiotics (live good bacteria to improve digestion) for a healthy life. Instead of reaching out for supplements, look for natural sources of probiotics like sour pickles (yes, achaar is actually good for your digestion); soft cheeses, yogurt; sourdough bread (most north Indians will be familiar with aata which has become khameer); and miso soup.
- Make Honey, Garlic, and Ginger a Part of Your Daily Diet
The antimicrobial properties of honey make it a superfood. Use it as a sweetener instead of sugar; as a bread spread; in a glass of warm milk; blend it into smoothies. Especially when the mercury begins dipping, add honey to your daily diet. Both garlic and ginger have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. The antioxidant and nutrient rich garlic should be find its way into your recipes easily. Ginger adds anti-inflammatory properties to its other properties. This means that even if you catch a cold, or get flu, you will recover faster, and suffer less, if ginger and garlic are part of your daily diet.
- Work Out Regularly
You don’t have to head out to the gym immediately. However, doing some ordinary floor exercises, indulging in jogging and/or skipping, going for a walk in the morning or after dinner are some of the ways you can stay fit, shed the extra kilos, and become more cheerful. Walking improves both your physical and your mental health. The latter is vital for staying fit. Being cheerful is good way to ward off viruses.
- Avoid Close Contact With People Who Are Infected
If you are the care giver of the person who is ill, or when someone family member falls ill obviously you are not going to shirk your duty. However, you can avoid unnecessary exposure. It sounds callous, but is actually a very practical approach. Prevention is better than cure.
- Rest to Prevent Falling Ill
Stress and overstrain are two shortcuts to falling ill. That is because you become susceptible to every stray infection, especially viruses, when you are not relaxed. You must sleep at least 7 hours daily. It will be more effective if you sleep and awaken at the same time daily. This is because your body repairs itself when you sleep. Sleep deprivation will not only prevent your body from healing itself; it will cause long term damage to your brain.
- Get Vaccinated
If you are immune compromised, get the flu shot. However, you should consult your doctor first. Immunization enables you to stay safe and well.
Some common sense approaches would include: Stay dry. If you get drenched in the rain, get into dry clothes. Drink something warm. Don’t allow yourself to be chilled. That means control the temperature in the room to ensure that it is neither too warm, nor too cool. Eat and sleep at regular hours. If breathing becomes difficult, and you live in a dry climate area; consider investing in a humidifier. If fever does not abate after a few days; cough refuses to go away; the aches and pains become intolerable ― see a doctor immediately.