The winter season brings, along with frigid temperatures and poor weather conditions, an increase in flu and other ailments. This makes it difficult to feel safe from germs. This winter has seen a particularly bad flu season, with some hospitals seeing ten times as many flu patients as last year. With the threat of illness looming, specific precautions will significantly reduce your chances of getting sick when the cold weather hits.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes a long way when it comes to preventing illness. Adequate rest and a proper diet are perhaps most important.
If the body is not rested, its immune system cannot fight germs at full strength. To keep the body functioning at high efficiency, sleep experts recommend adults get eight hours of sleep every night. Medical researchers have determined that insufficient sleep weakens the body’s immune system.
Not all sleep in deep sleep. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol reduces the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep that a person gets — in other words, it reduces your deepest cycle of sleep. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation to avoid the risk of weakening your body’s immune system.
Along with rest, nutrition is also important. Eating the proper diet is vital to keeping your body’s immune system strong. Fruits and vegetables contain high contents of antioxidants, which help preserve your body’s immune system. A diet high in refined sugar and saturated fats will reduced the body’s efficiency whcih makes it work harder to process food, thus distracting it from combating germs.
Make sure to always wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating to keep germs away from your mouth.
Drinking water is a way to keep kidneys and other organs working to their best ability. In one day, a person should drink equal to half their body weight in water. For example, a 180-pound man would need to consume 90 ounces of water throughout the day to meet the suggested amount.
One way to avoid germs is to go outside. People spend the majority of their time indoors, breathing recycled air that is polluted with germs. Getting some fresh air everyday may be worth putting on a coat and scarf as it will help you avoid breathing in germs.
Start taking a natural multi-vitamin that includes Vitamin D to go along with implementing a healthy lifestyle. Taking one each day can be a beneficial tool for good long and short-term health.
Lifestyle practices are easily controlled. This makes avoiding illness easier than you may have thought. Rather than investing in expensive remedies you can defend your immune system with natural ones. With these lifestyle changes, avoiding ailments this winter can be in your control. It’s just too bad we can’t control the cold weather.
Steve Bernardi is a registered compounding pharmacist and co-owner of Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham.