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Winter is coming. Which means cold and flu season is coming. Your friends and colleagues are coughing and sniffing and you can feel the germs building up in the atmosphere making their way towards you.
Your panic rises as you realise it’s only a matter of time until you too are smitten, red nosed, snotty and coughing a lung up.
But is it your fate or are there things you can do to prevent a cold from taking hold?
5 Early Measures To Take To Avoid Getting The Cold
Even if you don’t have any cold or flu symptoms, there are things you can do right now to prevent a cold from emerging – especially if those around you are showing signs.
Get hand sanitizer and take it EVERYWHERE with you
Washing your hands every time you shake someone else’s hand or touch something they have touched will help prevent the germs from spreading. But to really protect yourself, buy a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it regularly throughout the day. Disinfect your work space, surfaces at home, your kids toys, your phone and anything else you’re making contact with regularly.
Get more sleep
If you feel like a cold may be on the horizon, start going to bed earlier and try to get as much sleep as you possibly can. According to a study, people who get seven hours sleep or less per night are more likely to catch a cold. A lack of sleep can compromise your immune system and make you more vulnerable to illnesses, so aim to get at least eight solid hours of shut-eye every night.
Drinking tea and breathing in steam stimulates the hair follicles in the nose to enable germs to move out more quickly. For the best protection, try herbal tea with lemon to thin your mucus and honey which is antibacterial and soothing on a sore throat.
Eating a range of healthy foods, fruit and vegetables will help keep your body nourished with essential illness-fighting vitamins and minerals. When it comes to your shopping list, go for the greens; foods such as broccoli contain chemicals to help white blood cell production and performance, boosting your immune system.
Although you might want to cosy up in bed and hide away from the world and all your cold-ridden acquaintances, try to move around and get some moderate exercise to improve your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. Just try to do exercise on your own or outdoors (if it’s not too cold) as gyms can be prime locations for fast infection-spreading.
5 Things To Do When You Feel A Cold Coming On
If the situation is a bit more urgent and you have an inkling that a cold its very quickly on its way to you, there are a few things you can do to lessen the symptoms.
Start drinking loads and loads of water
Stay as hydrated as you possibly can. Drinking lots of water can help a sore throat or runny nose and stop it from lasting as long.
Take care of your nose
Having a cold is bad enough, but having to suffer through a red, flaky sensitive nose just makes the whole thing 100x worse. To help, keep your nose moisturised and use good quality tissues with aloe vera or coconut oil in them that won’t harm the skin.
Gargle some salt water
Salt water can help your sore throat and make it less scratchy. Salt can draw out the excess water in your throat tissue which will reduce the inflammation, clears out the mucus and flushes out bacteria.
Take your meds
There are two types of people in this world – those who will pop a painkiller or paracetamol at the first sign of pain or illness and those who won’t take anything, even when they’re bedbound and unable to move. It is of course best to avoid taking medication unless you need to but when you have the cold, sometimes you need all the help you can get. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve aches and reduce your temperature and decongestants can help you get rid of that horrific runny nose.
Stay away from absolutely everyone
When you have a cold that’s not so bad that you’re bedbound, it can be tempting to just carry on and go to work or do all your regular activities. But, where possible, you should stay away from others while you’re sick. It will prevent your symptoms from worsening or catching any other germs or illnesses AND it’s just considerate. If you go to work sick, you run the risk of infecting others and striking down more members of the workforce. So curl up under the duvet and don’t feel even a little bit guilty about it.
What are your best tips for preventing the common cold? Let us know on social media by using the hashtag #MyIrishLife
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