You know those people who never get sick? Like ever? We assume they must have super human immunity — and maybe they do. For the rest of us mortals, staying healthy when the weather outside is frightful takes a little effort. Below, we’ve compiled some of our best suggestions and strategies for keeping those colds at bay. Some tips are preventative, designed to help you not get sick and still others are designed to help you get better fast.
- Stop Touching Yourself. Those who touch their eyes and nose throughout the day, are 41% more likely to catch a cold during the winter. Unless you’re walking around with sterile surgical gloves, keep your mitts off your mug. If your eye itches, rub it with your sleeve. Seriously.
- Reduce Stress. Stress wears you and your immune system down, leaving you prone to colds and other health issues. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that people who meditated took 76% fewer sick days than those who were not so zen. Meditation isn’t the only way to reduce stress. Consider going out with friends, having a relaxing day at the spa, or spending time with your puppy.
- Keep Your Nose Warm. Your nose is your body’s first line of defense against infection. When you inhale, little hairs called cillia go to work filtering out the good from the bad. As the temperature drops and your face gets cold, however, the cilia slow down and become less vigilant, allowing viruses to slip into your system.
- Exercise. Exercise not only wakes you up, but also your immune system by detoxifying the body and encouraging circulation.
- Wash Your Hands Thoroughly. It takes about 20 seconds of good scrubbing in hot water to totally get the germs off your skin. Hot water, by the way, goes for your clothes too. The hotter the wash cycle, the more germs will be wiped out when they come out of the dryer.
- Sleep. Those who are chronically under slept are far more likely to catch a cold. You need at least 7 ½ hours of deep, restful sleep to regenerate your body and keep you healthy.
- Don’t Smoke. Smokers are five times more likely to catch the cold. Although researchers aren’t certain why this is so, some believe chemicals associated with smoking puts the immune system into overdrive, which burns it out and causes it to make mistakes.
- Gargle with Salt Water. It takes a long time for a virus to weasel its way through the mucus membranes in your throat and invade your body. Gargling gives you a chance to wash the little buggers away before they infect you. In fact, according to a Japanese study, those who gargle 3 times a day are 35% less likely to get sick.
- Avoid Children. Children are extremely infectious as they tend to keep the flu virus in their bodies longer than adults. Furthermore, they tend to have fewer symptoms than adults, which means that while you might not shake the hand of your sick coworker, you may miss the hint and give a sick kid a big hug. Our suggestion? Avoid children entirely. Even your own. (Or refer back to number 5)
- Sweat it Out Through Exercise. Although you might not feel like it when you’re sick, you need to exercise. Exercising gets everything moving again. It stimulates the immune system to wake up and do its job and it constricts the capillaries, which will leave your nasal cavities feeling some relief.
- Hum. Indian researchers have discovered that the vibrations caused by humming generate nitric oxide in the nose, which is antimicrobial. It’s also a good strategy for those suffering from allergies.
- Wear Wet Socks to Bed. Your body responds to your cold feet by increasing your circulation, which helps draw toxins out of the body and encourages your immune system stay vigilant. Also, increased circulation can draw moisture from your sinuses, which is good if you have a head cold.
What are your secret tips for avoiding the cold in the Winter? Let us know in the comments. :-)