As the clocks go back this weekend signalling darker nights and colder temperatures, we’re sure you’ve already been hearing the familiar sounds of coughing and sniffing synonymous with the beginning of the cold and flu season. Catching a cold or other virus can be extremely miserable, so if you want to do what you can to avoid one this year, we’ve got some useful information on avoiding winter colds below.

What you can do to boost your resistance

Cold and flu often affects us when we are at our most vulnerable, but there are some steps which can be taken to prevent them. Our top 5 tips for avoiding colds this season are:

 

  1. Practice good hygiene

Making sure that you wash your hands regularly can help you to avoid picking up viruses. Carry a hand gel with you to keep clean on the go and if you work in an office, wipe over your surfaces, keyboard and phone regularly with antibacterial wipes.

  1. Stay warm

When we’re cold, we shiver, and this shivering reduces the effectiveness of our immune system. Dress appropriately for the weather outside and keep your home warm too. Richmond Council is currently operating a Winter Warmth initiative to help residents heat their homes effectively, so if you know someone who is eligible, be sure to let them know about this.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Water, as we know, helps our kidneys to function and keep them flushing out our body’s toxins. Drinking water helps to thin mucus and keep our bodies hydrated whilst we battle infections. Drink your recommended eight glasses a day, or more if you’re feeling particularly dehydrated.

  1. Start taking vitamins

If your vitamin intake is generally low, you may want to consider taking a multivitamin to help boost your body’s defences. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is another way to get natural vitamins into our bodies, and is especially important during the winter months. Taking a probiotic as well can help improve your digestive system, which in turn helps our bodies’ defences against colds and other illnesses.

  1. Get your flu jab

If you are aged 65 and over, are pregnant, have long-term health issues or have a weak immune system, it is recommended that you get a flu jab to protect you during the winter months. It is an effective method of protecting from flu, particularly in the most vulnerable, and anyone who is particularly concerned can request a jab from their GP. More information on flu jabs can be found on the NHS website.

Looking after our health and wellbeing is particularly important during the winter months. Taking steps to eat right, cut down on smoking and alcohol consumption and exercising can all help keep our bodies healthy to fight against colds and flu. If you have elderly relatives or are elderly yourself, be sure to take extra precautions to avoid getting ill this winter.