As we are in the “ember” months, with it comes bouts of colds and the flu. You might like to know that you can keep your family cold and flu free as much as possible. The key to preventing colds and flu is to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips on how:
1. Eat for Health
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits that offer antioxidants as this supports the immune system and therefore you are less likely to catch a cold. e.g. strawberries, purple grapes, nuts (walnuts and brazil nuts), dark green veggies (broccoli and spinach), sweet potatoes, whole grain (brown rice).
2. Adequate Rest
Get enough sleep as rest has been shown to boost the immune system. Do you know much sleep everyone needs? See the hand guide below:
0-3 months: 10-18 hours
4 – 11 months: 9-15 hours at night (with at least 2 naps during the day)
1-2 years: 11-14 hours at night (with at least 1 nap during the day)
3-5 years: 11-13 hours per night
6-13 years: 9-11 hours per night
14-16 years: 9 hours per night
16 – Adult: 7-8 hours per night
3. Reduce Stress
Learn to relax and look for ways to intentionally relax. [Read: Harmattan and Children]
4. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Wash your hands with soap and water as often as you can, definitely after using the toilet and before meals. Don’t forget to clean under your nails, between the fingers and your wrists. For children show them how to clean their hands thoroughly.
5. Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. This reduces the spread of germs and thereby prevents getting those around you from getting sick. Stay away from people with cold and flu symptoms like sneezing or coughing.
6. Clean House
Clean and disinfect those frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, telephones, table tops and computer keyboards. Germs can survive on these surfaces for several hours, use wipes or disinfectant sprays.
This is a proven immune booster. Moderate exercise such as brisk walking, cycling and swimming for at least 30mins a day for 5 days a week has been shown to reduce the risk of catching a cold by as much as a third.
Drink plenty of water up to 8 glasses a day
If you do have a cold:
1. Stay at home (especially school age children)
2. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and wash hand afterwards
3. Get plenty of rest
4. Drink plenty of fluids [Read: Natural Cold Remedies]
5. See a doctor immediately if you or your family have any of these symptoms: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Pain or pressure in the chest or stomach, Confusion, High temperature, severe or persistent vomiting, Not responding to medication.
Remember, it is easier to prevent a cold than to fight one. Start staying healthy today!!!!