So it’s the middle of winter and everyone around you is getting sick, and you’re wondering what you can do to prevent rather than cure a cold or flu. But…what is the difference between a cold and a flu? How do you know when you need medical assistance? What preventative measures can you take to lower your chances of falling ill and increase your immunity?
A cold is very common and can be caused by up to 200 different viruses. There is no vaccine to prevent a cold.
The flu is a viral infection that affects your nose, throat and sometimes lungs. There IS a vaccine to prevent this infection.
It is important to understand the symptoms of both, in order to be treated correctly.
Healthdirect.gov.au. (2018) Cold or flu? (infographic). [online]
Available at: https://www.healdirect.gov.au/cold-or-flu-infographic
[Accessed 8 Jul. 2018].
Top tips for boosting your immunity:
- Reduce your levels of stress and sleep more
Sleep deprivation and stress can increase levels of the hormone cortisol and this is proven to reduce immune function. But how do you sleep more you ask? If you can’t go to bed earlier or wake up any later, try to improve the quality of sleep that you’re getting.
- Go to bed at the same time every day to ensure that your body gets used to bed time and you’re not wide awake by the time 10pm rolls around.
- Make sure your room is nice and dark
- Go easy on alcohol before bed as it may help you fall asleep but will cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night
- Don’t consume caffeinated food/beverages in the afternoon
- Work through your thoughts about the day before bed
- Meditate before bed or when you wake up
- Create a comfortable environment with cosy blankets and décor, warm lighting and scents to help you drift off like lavender.
- Use garlic in your cooking and add Manuka honey to tea as they are antimicrobial agents and immune boosters.
- Take probiotics! Two of the most important families of bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which have been proven to increase our immune health. As a preventative measure, look for probiotics that have at least 30 to 50 billion colonies and 8 or more strains of bacteria. If you’re already coming down with a cold or are currently taking antibiotics, this dose can be doubled.
- Eat fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, miso, yoghurt, Kombucha and tempeh
- Vitamins and minerals are vital. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc will all support a healthy immune system and help prevent a cold.
- Exercise is obviously good for our weight management, mood, and cardiovascular system, but it is also great for increasing our body’s response to infection.
- Eat Mushrooms! Some of the most potent immune-supportive agents come from mushrooms. Try Shitake, Maitake, or Reishi in your next soup or omelette.
- Use Essential Oils to prevent colds. Think Oregano, Lemon, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea tree, and Frankincense. Make your own sprays to use on your pillow or use an oil diffuser.
Your health is in your hands, so take care of yourself this winter. Let us know in the comments of any home remedies you like to use and spread health not germs.
Team TBM x