This winter, take the right steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching a virus with these simple, savvy healthcare tips, all designed to keep you sickness-free while cooped up indoors!
- Get enough quality sleep. No matter your age, it is impossible to overstate the importance of sleep. Not only is getting enough rest linked to better concentration and speeding up your body’s rate of self-repair, but catching quality zzz’s has been proven to reduce inflammation while decreasing the likelihood of cancer, heart disease and stroke. When we are well-rested, our immune system gets a huge boost, allowing us to resist germs and other contaminants that might otherwise form into a sickness. Give yourself anywhere from 7 – 9 hours of sleep to reset from the day, and see how much better you feel!
- Cover open wounds and avoid touching your face. The flu looks for easy points of access, meaning that the mouth, eyes, and breaks in the skin are vulnerable areas for bacteria and viruses to enter the body. The average person touches their face 3,000 times a day, which means that 2 – 5 times a minute, we are exposing our eyes, nose and mouth to whatever bacteria our hands touch. You can keep sickness out of your body by cleaning and bandaging any cuts, frequently washing your hands and fingernails with hot, soapy water, and resisting the urge to touch or scratch your eyes and face.
- Circulate clean, fresh air in your home and office. Airflow is key to making sure we give our bodies the best chance at remaining healthy and strong. Dirty air, especially air that has been re-circulated or sealed off from the outdoors, is likely to carry dust, dead skin cells and be lower on oxygen than air that has been filtered or ventilated. To make sure the air you’re breathing is clean, begin by keeping towels, bedding and other fabrics freshly washed. Vacuum carpeted floors for hair and pet dander, and consider investing in an air treatment filter to rid the air of any unseen contaminants.
- Move your body. When we elevate our heart rate through activities such as dancing, running, jogging, swimming or doing yoga, not only are we helping improve circulation and engaging a variety of muscles – we are also boosting the immune system and building stamina. By getting up and moving around rather than remaining seated for extended periods of time, we help our internal systems to function better and naturally fire off soothing chemicals in the brain that battle depression, anxiety and compulsive behaviours. Movement can be done without ever leaving the house with programs like WiFit, stationary bikes, treadmills, hand weights, and a variety of free workout videos online for everyone from beginner to advanced.
- Dress for the weather. While it may seem like a simple thing, many of us go through our winter days without enough layers on. Staying warm, even indoors, improves circulation and results in sounder sleep and better concentration, which aids in our ability to fight off illness. Put on a pair of thick socks or comfy slippers when walking around the house, particularly if your home has wooden floors. Concerned about the heating bill? Keep soft blankets readily available on furniture and layer up with your favourite hoodies or sweatshirts, rather than cranking up the temperature.
- Eat and drink your vitamins. Fuel up on Vitamin C and D to give your body the best chance to fight off viruses and bacteria with wholesome foods including orange juice, fruit salad, juicy strawberries, green smoothies and fresh salmon. The better equipped you enter flu season in terms of a healthy, balanced diet, the better chance you have to ward off lingering sicknesses or avoid picking up a bug in the first place!