How not to get sick when everyone around you already is. Helen Foster finds out more.
Immunity raiser: Keep your nose warm
Dr Ron Eccles from the UK’s Cardiff University is one of the world’s most eminent cold researchers. He points out a new theory as to why we catch more colds in winter, “Our nose is colder then, and that cooling of the nose lowers resistance to infection.” So, if it’s really chilly, place a scarf over your nose to keep it warm.
Bug buster: Scope out the sneezers
Recent research from the Australian National University found that you’re most likely to catch a cold or flu on a plane (and therefore potentially on trains, buses or in the cinema) from a sick person sitting within two seats in any direction. Spotting them and repositioning yourself further away may help lower the risk of infection. “Sweating, pale skin, red nose, sneezing and coughing are the classic signs that someone has a cold,” says South-Australia-based wellness coach and chiropractor Dr Brett Hill.
Immunity raiser: Boost your vitamin D
According to research from Greenwich Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine in the US, you’re twice as likely to come down with a cold if you’re exposed to the bugs when levels of vitamin D in your blood are low. The Cancer Council suggests boosting your vitamin-D by getting the sun on your face, hands and arms two to three hours a week. If you suspect you’re still deficient, ask your doctor to test you in case you need a supplement.
Bug buster: Keep your hands clean
Dr Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona points out that we’re the ’touch generation’. “We touch more communal surfaces than any generation in history and the hand is quicker than the sneeze in the spread of disease,” says Gerba. Some of the most touched items include ATMs, lift buttons, escalator handrails, gizmos in places like technology stores and pens in the bank. Avoid touching these where possible or at least scrub up or use antibacterial hand gel soon afterwards.
Immunity raiser: Nibble some raisins
Not only are they a good source of iron, which aids immunity, but spending five to seven minutes nibbling on a handful of raisins while focusing on the experience taste, smell, texture, the movement of your mouth as you chew is one of the simplest ways to practise mindfulness. Mindfulness the technique of living in the now has been proven to raise immunity by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in the US. Being mindful has been shown to lower stress and reduce the risk of depression, which is an added bonus as further research shows that people with depression have a higher risk of contracting colds, possibly because depression creates changes in the immune system.
For more stay well tips pick up the June issue of Good Health magazine or subscribe at magshop.co.nz.