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Top 10 Cold & Flu Prevention Tips

While common colds won't kill you, they can weaken your immune system, allowing other, more serious, germs to take hold. Although it's impossible for us to promise that you'll never catch another cold again, you can increase your odds of staying fit and healthy this winter by following our top 10 flu busting tips.

Keep Warm

Keeping warm can help you avoid coughs, colds and flu - so make sure that you wrap up well. We lose a staggering 30% of our body heat through our heads - so if you're planning on venturing outdoors during the cold snap; always wear a hat. Shivering weakens the immune system, which can expose us to a variety of nasty germs and bugs.

Wash your Hands

Although most infections are carried in the air and transmitted by the aerosol effect when someone sneezes; direct contact is also a major contributor. Door handles, mobile phones and keyboards are some of the most common breeding grounds for germs - which can live for hours on these surfaces. Wash your hands as often as possible or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers to kill of any viruses you may have come into contact with.

Keep Hydrated

Drinking water flushes out toxins that accumulate in our bodies and helps to keep our immune systems stay strong. Doctors recommend that we drink about eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. If you're feeling under the weather; dehydration will make your mucus drier and thicker thus unable to fight invading germs; fluids will also help to flush out the infection.

Eat Well

We're not suggesting that you eat like a rabbit; but a diet rich in fruit and vegetables will help you to avoid a number of health problems this winter. When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Sleep Tight

Ensuring that we achieve a restful 8 hours sleep each night, helps our bodies to repair themselves and rebuild the immune system. It's not just lack of sleep that makes us more prone to illness though; our moods also affect our ability to fight off infections; if you're feeling sad or upset you're more likely to to fall ill compared when you're happier.

Keep Active

Stay active throughout autumn and winter to beat those seasonal blues and feel on top of the world. Personal trainer Matt Gleed has put together a helpful feature about Winter Fitness to ensure that we keep active, while keeping warm at home.

Ginger

Ginger shots are great for a daily dose of intense nutrition. The ginger shot is so simple to make as all you do is juice 1 apple with a thumb-tip sized chunk of ginger; down in one. Ginger is everyone’s favourite 'anti', its anti-viral, anti-septic, anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory and works brilliantly if you have a head cold or sinus congestion.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol not only leaves us feeling disorientated and confused but our immune systems too. We're not saying don't drunk, merely enjoy a tipple in moderation. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is bad for immune cells and can leave you dehydrated and prone to illness, this will interfere with your nose and throats ability to trap germs and expel mucus.

Use Disposable Items

If someone in your household is infected ensure that they use disposable cups and cutlery to prevent the accidental spread of germs. If this isn't practical or financially viable, make sure you use anti-bacterial washing up liquid and designating separate cups and dishes for them to use.

Get Vaccinated

The flu jab is available every year on the NHS to protect adults (and some children) at risk of flu and its complications. Although studies have shown the flu jab works; it won't stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary between people. 

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