Scientists used to blame living in closed environments as the primary cause for developing colds and flu during the winter. But researchers from Yale University say otherwise, revealing that cold temperatures weaken the immune system, thus affecting your body’s ability to fight off viruses and infections.

Stay healthy and lower your chances of getting sick during the winter by following these tips:

1. Observe a Healthy Diet

Eating healthily is crucial all year round, but incorporating foods rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K into your diet can help boost the immune system. Here are some food items that you can include in your next meal:

●      Potato -- contains high levels of vitamins B6 and C

●      Dark Leafy Vegetables (i.e., kale, collards, and chard) -- high in vitamins A, C, and K

●      Different Types of Winter Squash (i.e., pumpkin, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash) -- contains beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A

●      Citrus Fruits -- good sources of vitamin C

2. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated during the summer is just as important as keeping hydrated during the winter. Dehydration can lead to health complications like kidney problems, seizures, and low blood volume shock.

The widely recommended water intake is at least eight 8-ounce glasses, but there’s a more accurate method of calculating how much water a person needs to drink based on their weight. Here’s how:

a)    Measure your weight in pounds and divide that by 2.2.

b)    Multiply the result depending on your age: If you’re under 30 years old, multiply by 40. If you’re between 30-55 years old, multiply by 35. If you’re over 55, multiply by 30.

c)     Divide the product by 28.3.

d)    The result is how many ounces of water you need to drink in a day. Divide it by 8 to get your result in cups.


3. Exercise Regularly

A study suggests that moderate-intensity exercises improve immune function and potentially reduce the risks of respiratory viral infections. A great way to stay active is by going on 30 to 60-minute brisk walks. For more intense workouts, opt for 20 to 30-minute runs or aerobic and weightlifting sessions at least three to four times a week.


4. Get Your Flu Vaccine

Prevent influenza and its potentially serious complications by getting vaccinated. Flu vaccines can be administered through injections or taken via a nasal spray. Consult your physician regarding the best method for your case.


5. Keep Your Place Warm

Lower the risks of developing colds by keeping your home warm and cosy. Set your thermostat between 20 and 25°C. Recommended daytime temperatures in living areas are 21 to 23°C. For sleeping areas, temperature requirements are a bit higher.

Of course, if you still feel cold at 23°C, feel free to take it up a few notches until you feel comfortable.


6. Dress for the Weather

Bundle up in layers of clothing -- lots of them! Start with a t-shirt or blouse, then wear a jacket or sweater on top. When leaving the house, be sure to wear gloves, boots, earmuffs and a hat.


7. Get Enough Sleep

Studies suggest that people who get at least seven hours of sleep are less likely to develop colds. Moreover, during sleep, the body produces cytokines, molecules that help ward off infections. Likewise, chemokines, a type of cytokine, help immune cells detect and destroy harmful viruses that enter the body.


8. Keep Antiviral Medications On Hand

Be sure to keep a stash of prescriptions for Relenza or Tamiflu for when you do get the flu. Just keep in mind that these medications are only effective within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. As soon as you feel flu-like symptoms, call your doctor, or visit urgent care to get the go signal for taking the meds.


9. Treat Yourself with a Massage

Preliminary studies suggest that a single session of Swedish massage could potentially improve inflammatory and autoimmune functions in individuals. If you have the time and budget, treat yourself to a well-deserved massage!


10. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly

Proper washing of the hands is a crucial step to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly especially after coming into contact with high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and handrails.

Experts suggest scrubbing your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Lather in between your fingers, at the back of your hands, and under your nails.


Stay On Top of Your Health

On top of a proper diet and a healthy routine, scheduling regular check-ups with a vetted healthcare provider can keep you healthy all year round.

As the UK’s leading healthcare specialist, Vista Health provides state-of-the-art diagnostic services at competitive prices. Our medical staff is trained to ensure that you get the highest level of patient care possible.

Gain access to some of the best treatments and procedures in the UK, including cardiac MRI scans and echocardiograms. Book an appointment today at any of our 40 diagnostic centres across the UK.

Stay on top of your health not just in the winter, but all year round. For questions or consultations, reach out to us on 0371-705-2526.

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