Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Prevent Colds this Winter....

This time of the year temperatures are all over the place.  The drop in temperature also brings out activities of cold virus.  Colds cause for significant disruption to our lives, work, and social interactions.

Everyone's goal during cough and cold season is to keep healthy. As an immunologist, I'm often asked about natural ways to prevent viruses from taking hold and to reduce the time of a cold.

Here are my 5 top tips.  I hope they keep you cold free this year!
1) Wash your hands! 
  • You've heard it before and you'll hear it again.  Frequent hand washing is the number one way you can prevent colds.  Your hands bring germs and viruses to your nose, mouth and eyes where they gain entry and cause illness. Keeping your hands germ free will help keep you germ free.  Wash or use portable hand disinfectants after riding the subways, before eating, after shaking hands, or anything you think of it.  Aim for 20 seconds at least with warm soapy water. 
2) Eat a rainbow of foods each day!
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seed and lean proteins will ensure you are getting enough essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your immune system working at maximum potential!   Critical vitamins involved in the immune reaction are Vitamin A (think anything orange like pumpkin and squash), Vitamin C (oranges and grapefruits), Vitamin D (the sun!),  Vitamin E  (nuts and sunflower seeds) and Zinc (oysters & chickpeas). Vitamins, anti-oxidants and bacteria are natural ways to maintain this balance. 

3)  Keep your fluids up!
  • Water helps keep your skin and outer mucosal functioning at it's best.  These surfaces are the first line defense against germs and viruses. 
  • Shoot for 4-5 8 ounces of water per day.  Live in a dry apartment?  Drink at least an 1-2 glasses more.
4) Maintain regular exercise and sleep program!
  • Did you know that regular exercise helps boost the activity of critical immune cells in fighting off germs and viruses? 
  • Even if you're getting sick low intensity exercise will reduce the time of the illness.
  • Sleep is when your body repairs and rejuvenates itself.  As we enter the holiday season, increased parties and plans often infringe on our time for sleep, but shoot for 7-8 hours a night to keep your body in it's best form. 
5) Disinfect Germ Magnets!
  • The phone- Your home, office and personal phone are way stations for viruses.  They can survive on them for a few hours to days.
  • Remote controls- touched by everyone in the family, but least cleaned.  During cold season, try and wipe off at least once a day.
  • Keep boards and computers- we sit at them for hours a day sneezing and breathing on them.  Make sure to wipe them off several times a week to keep yourself healthy
  • The bathroom- yuck...faucets and door knobs are touched by everyone in the house and office.  This is the perfect place to pick up viruses.  Make sure faucets and knobs are getting disinfected frequently.   
Hopefully these tips will keep you cold free this season!

Need more personalized care?  Call the office or  schedule an appointment here.

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