This article is intended for customers from all countries other than Germany*
Winter is filled with all kinds of magical things: the holidays, getting cosy by a fireplace, playing in the snow. But it’s also the prime time of year when you’re most likely to get sick. If you’re constantly asking yourself, “How can I avoid getting sick in the winter?”, you’re not alone. A pesky cold or flu can take anyone out of commission, but it can be even more serious if you’re living with a chronic condition like Lyme disease. You might have more severe symptoms or take much longer to recover than other people. So read on for some helpful solutions on how to keep illness at bay this winter!
How can you protect yourself from being sick?
It can sometimes feel hard to avoid getting sick during the colder months (especially when it seems like everyone around you is unwell!). But it is possible to ward off some illnesses by boosting your immune system and living an overall healthy lifestyle. You can do this by:
Eating a healthy diet
Make sure you’re hitting all those major food groups, while doubling down on foods with vitamin C (oranges, broccoli, kale, etc.) and other immune system-boosting foods such as spinach, almonds, turmeric and yoghurt. Foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants will work to bolster your immune system. Try to avoid too many saturated fatty acids or highly processed foods that can slow your whole system down.
Being active will help you feel better overall, but it can also keep you from getting sick since it can improve your circulation and allow the immune system to work more efficiently. Living a sedentary lifestyle means your body can’t flush bacteria from the lungs as effectively, which results in you having a higher likelihood of catching a cold or flu.
Staying at a healthy weight
Both of the factors listed above work to keep you at a healthy weight. Having too much excess body fat can trigger pro-inflammatory messenger production, which promotes inflammation and causes your immune system to work against you. For people with chronic conditions that cause them to be at a low weight, being underweight can be just as harmful to your immune system. Your body needs all the strength it can get to help ward off illness!
Getting enough sleep
Your body needs to be getting adequate rest in order to have a healthy immune system. Sleep deprivation can actually cause weakened immune function, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep. A general recommendation is eight hours of quality sleep per night.
Skipping your vices
People who smoke or drink excessively probably notice they get sick more often than most people. Smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol can inhibit the immune system. It also lowers the resorption of crucial nutrients and may harm our gut – a very sensitive system tremendously important to overall health. Try to eliminate these habits if you want to encourage a stronger immune system.
Of course, this is easier said than done. But being emotionally overwhelmed or rundown means you’ll run a much higher risk of contracting illnesses – your body just won’t have enough stamina to fight off infection. Make time for relaxation and self-care and conscious living and try to eliminate as many stressful aspects of your life as you can.
How can we stay healthy in winter months?
While you should be doing the above-mentioned suggestions year-round, there are some additional steps you can take during winter to decrease your chances of getting sick.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands more often and more thoroughly during cold and flu season can be an effective way to avoid germs. This is especially true if you’re spending time around someone who is already sick. Scrub hard with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. One trick is to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice to yourself to make sure you’re washing for an adequate amount of time.
Use hand sanitiser
Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser can help you get rid of cold and flu germs if you can’t immediately wash your hands.
Skip shaking hands
Although you don’t want to come across as rude, avoid shaking hands if at all possible, to help lower the risk of transmission of germs. If you explain why you’re forgoing the handshake, most people will understand, and you can limit your exposure to germs.
Keep your surroundings clean
Wipe off surfaces and doorknobs at home and at work to get rid of germ contamination. It’s a task that takes less than a minute but could end up helping you cut down on the germs you’re exposed to.
Try to avoid people who are sick
This one seems like pretty good common sense. Steer clear of people who already have symptoms and who might be contagious. It’s believed that you should stay around six feet (or two arms’ length) away from any sick individuals to prevent yourself from catching anything.
There are other minor lifestyle changes you can try during winter as well. Try keeping warm with lots of layers to help you conserve your energy. It can also be a good idea to keep the air moist in your home. A room or whole-house humidifier can keep harmful particles from getting transferred to you. Some people also like to take more supplements in the winter to avoid getting sick. Extra doses of vitamin D or Z could decrease your chances of catching something.
If you need the answer to how to keep illness away this winter, follow the tips above to get through the season illness-free!