How to prevent the common cold
How to prevent the common cold
While not exactly life threatening, a cold can be irritating, cause a certain amount of pain and discomfort and may even stop you from going about your day. But there may be some things that you can introduce to your daily routine to prevent you from getting ill during cold and flu season[1,2]. Whether you can feel the initial signs of a cold, such as a sore throat or a runny nose, or you want to stop a cold from starting at all, read our tips to keep you as fit and healthy as possible this winter.
How to prevent cold and flu naturally
- Eat well
It really is true that you are what you eat and diet can have a huge impact on your overall health. There’s a reason you’re told to eat your vegetables as a child. These green foods are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can help to support and even improve your immune system. Broccoli, peas and asparagus are among some of the best vegetables to keep colds at bay, but leafy greens such as spinach and kale are even better. They generally contain a large amount of vitamins A and K and the antioxidants can help to reduce the risk of all sorts of diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
- Stay active
You may be of the opinion that going out and staying active could only bring on a cold. But by doing regular exercise, whether it’s walking, pilates, running or something else, you increase the circulation of white blood cells around your body. White blood cells are responsible for fighting infections, so it’s important that these circulate well to prevent illnesses like the common cold or flu.
- Sleep well
Sleep is a big important part of staying healthy. While you slumber off to the world of dreams, your body is actually doing a lot. Your heart rate and blood pressure both rise and fall throughout the night, which could be of benefit to your cardiovascular system. Your body also releases certain hormones that can repair cells and strengthen your immune system. All of these things result in a healthy mind and body so that you’re ready for whatever the next day has in store for you.
When you’re run down, the best thing to do is get lots of rest and sleep to ensure your immune system is strong enough to fight off potential bacterial or viral infections.
- Wash your hands
Washing your hands is a basic hygiene technique but there’s a reason why we do it. Your hands touch a lot in a day, from door handles to shopping trolleys, money to television remotes. All of these surfaces can contain lots of germs and touching them can transfer the germs onto our hands. Washing your hands kills and removes the germs so that you don’t get ill.
You should always wash your hands before and after you prepare any food, as well as after you go to the toilet.
- Take multivitamins
Sometimes, despite eating plenty of leafy greens and other vegetables, you don’t take in all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. In some cases, additional multivitamins in tablet form could help.
Can Vitamin D ward off colds and flu?
According to the NHS, supplementing your diet with vitamin D tablets could help to prevent minor illnesses during the winter. Our bodies naturally take in vitamin D from the sun, however, it’s thought that people living in the UK don’t get enough of it in the winter months due to the mostly rainy and cloudy weather. Therefore, taking vitamin D throughout winter could improve your immunity.
How to prevent cold and flu in toddlers
It can be even harder to prevent colds and the flu in young children. Their immune system generally isn’t fully developed until they’re over the age of three and they often touch their face and then touch other items, such as toys. This means toddlers or children who attend nursery or school are much more likely to pick up illnesses. So how can you prevent this?
It’s so important to teach your children good hygiene. Encourage them to wash their hands and use a tissue to wipe their nose instead of their hand or sleeve. Where possible, ask them to eat their vegetables and ensure they get a good restful night’s sleep.
If they do catch a cold and are suffering with symptoms such as a cough and a sore throat, try Ultra Chloraseptic’s blackcurrant throat spray to soothe their throat and ensure they sleep through the night.
 Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Haack, M. (2019). The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiological Reviews, 99(3), 1325–1380. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00010.2018