Cold season is here: 4 ways to protect yourself

Health

The peak of cold season has arrived, but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to a nose-running, throat-scratching, body-aching bug.

Follow these tips to fight off germs:

  1. Remember the basics
    Cold season is the perfect time to refocus on healthy basics. Make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep each night (seven to eight hours), and be sure to drink plenty of liquids. And don’t forget the simple step of hand washing, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections. Lather up with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, washing between fingers and under nails. Carry hand sanitizer with you for times when you aren’t near a sink.
  2. Boost your defenses with vitamin D
    It’s important to get a daily dose of vitamin D, which is crucial to activating your immune defenses. If you’re not getting enough from sunshine this time of year, you may want to speak with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. You can also get vitamin D by eating foods like salmon, sardines, and fortified milk and cereals. 
  3. Gut instinct
    Probiotics, available in supplements and found in some foods, are helpful bacteria similar to those found naturally in your gut. They have benefits that go beyond aiding digestion that include improving the body’s natural defense mechanisms. It’s a good idea to increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt labeled with “live and active cultures,” sauerkraut, miso soup, kefir, and sour pickles. You can also try a probiotic supplement; ask your doctor to recommend one that suits your needs.
  4. Move it
    It’s easy to let dark days or bad weather undermine your commitment to regular exercise. When you find yourself lacking motivation to break a sweat, keep this in mind: regular aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells. Even if you just get your heart pumping doing jumping jacks in your living room or going up and down your stairs a few times, it will help your body stay strong and healthy all season long.
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