Help Prepare your Immune System for Winter Germs
Winter is on its way and while the colder weather brings good things like cosy fires and warm winter woollies, it also brings the risk of infection causing germs that cause colds and flu. Infection prevention, along with regular handwashing, remains key. Your first line of defence is to ensure you have an effective, germ-fighting handwash in your home.
Respiratory infections spread more rapidly in the colder months, when most people spend far more time indoors and socialise in enclosed spaces. Infections can often spread by close contact with an ill person or touching objects and surfaces used by that person. Once germs are on your hands and you touch your face, the germs are easily transferred. The single most effective way to prevent this is regular cleansing with a germ-fighting hygiene handwash.
Lifebuoy Total Germ Protection Handwash provides 99.9% germ protection, prevents the spread of germs and its germ-fighting potential is approved by the Royal Society for Public Health in London. Just washing your hands properly and regularly can help prevent you from getting sick. It is especially important for young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immunity.
Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20-30 seconds regularly throughout the day.
The most important times to wash your hands include:
- Before and after preparing, and eating, food
- After using the bathroom
- After coughing or blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Before and after being in contact with, or caring for, ill people
- After touching surfaces that may be harbouring germs such as door handles, shopping trolleys or your cellphone
- Before and after touching a baby or changing a nappy - After petting animals
While keeping up a disciplined handwash routine is a non-negotiable for keeping winter germs at bay, there are other ways to keep your immune system in good shape. The immune system is our body’s best defence against germs. Give it a helping hand by following these simple health tips according to Healthline
Eat a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is important for your immune system. Specific food can help ensure you are getting the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and healthy fats. Your diet should include:
- colourful fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, avocado, and salmon
- fermented foods, such as yoghurt, and amasi.
- foods high in fibre including whole grains and legumes
- herbs and spices, such as turmeric, black pepper, garlic, and ginger
- nuts and seeds, especially walnuts and flax seed
- dark chocolate
- green tea
It is important to keep inflammation in our bodies low to support our immune system. Certain foods may increase inflammation, so best to keep the following to a minimum:
- foods with added sugars, junk food, and fast food
- artificial trans fats, often added to processed and fried foods
- refined carbohydrates, commonly found in white bread, pasta, pastries, cookies, and cakes
- processed meat
Supplements may help support your immune system. But ideally, they should aid a healthy lifestyle, not replace one. Some people, particularly the elderly, may be deficient in some nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc, and may benefit more from supplements for optimal infection prevention. For instance, your body does not produce or store vitamin C, so if you don’t get the recommended daily amount from your diet, a supplement may be a smart idea. Always speak to a healthcare advisor before taking new supplements.
Get Adequate Sleep
The importance of sleep to our overall health and well-being cannot be underestimated. Sleep deprivation prevents the immune system from building up protective substances like antibodies and cytokines. Most adults need seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night; getting less than seven hours a night on a regular basis won’t do your immune system any favours.
Moderate exercise is an excellent way to support your immune system. Popular guidance says to aim for 30 minutes per day, five days per week but any opportunity to move your body, at your own pace, is a positive step. Include a mix of cardio and strength training exercises. If you are not a gym fan, there are many other ways to get active. Other than taking part in sports, a hike in nature, a bicycle ride, a daily stroll or jog around your suburb are all activities that will benefit you.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress, especially the chronic, ongoing kind, can hammer the immune system. Exercise is an excellent stress-buster, as is finding a good work-life balance and spending quality time with family, friends and pets. Other tips to promote calmness include:
- Listening to music
- Time spent in nature
Stay safe and healthy this winter with Lifebuoy’s range of handwash and hand sanitizers.