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Tips to stay healthy this winter

What can we do to avoid colds and sickness in the winter? Here are a few practical ideas to stay fit and healthy this year...

by Helen Bowman

November often heralds the onset of coughs and colds – they’re unavoidable, aren’t they?

The temperature drops and we spend less time out in the fresh air at this time of year. This means that germs and bugs get to enjoy their most virulent period in the winter. Our colleagues show up at the office with red-raw noses, runny eyes and copious amounts of medication in tow. The kids succumb to bugs and viruses galore and, as super spreaders, tend to share the joy with the whole family. 

Avoid crowds
Although this isn’t always practical, try to stay away from people who are already coughing and sneezing. Put some distance between you and the germs and you’re more likely to avoid contamination. If you do start sneezing, do so in a clean tissue every time, and discard it as soon as you’ve used it. Germs thrive on used tissues (tucked up sleeves or screwed up on a desk), putting you and those around you at higher risk of infection.

Eat nourishing foods
It’s the time of year when a steaming bowl of soup is always more appealing than a cold sandwich. Make the switch and treat your body to the nutrients and vitamins (not to mention the warming comfort) contained in a hearty soup or broth. If the germs have already hit, warm drinks and liquids such as soup will help relieve the symptoms of colds and sore throats, as well as keeping you hydrated.

Wash your hands – a lot
We touch things all the time. And as much as we might wash our hands thoroughly, we know that not everyone does. Experts advise that we wash our hands twice as often in the winter to get rid of unwanted germs from touching things like door handles and other infected surfaces.

Prioritise sleep
We all know that rest is a brilliant medicine. But how many of us get the amount of sleep we need? Whip out the winter duvets, banish devices from the bedroom, take the time to relax and unwind before bed and avoid eating sugars before bed, and you should achieve a sound night’s sleep. The time we spend asleep enables our bodies to fight infections and restore balance to the body. All these things help in the fight against bugs and viruses.

Soak up some fresh air
There are very few of us who enjoy an open window during the winter, preferring warm radiators, heat-giving fires and cosy socks. But alongside laughter and sleep, fresh air one of the best medicines there is. As the old adage goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So, get wrapped up and head outside for a walk. Fill your lungs with the good stuff and give your body the fresh air it craves.

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