On average, we get 1 to 6 colds a year. When our immune system is at full capacity, it can easily fight off colds and flu. However, if the immune system is weakened, we may experience nasal congestion, sore throat, and cough.
Why is winter the worst time for colds and flu?
There are over 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold, and three are known to cause the flu. During the winter months, air humidity decreases, meaning germs can survive longer in dry air. Low humidity can also dry out the nasal passages, making them more susceptible to infections. In addition, many of us spend more time indoors with other people, which makes it even easier for germs to pass from person to person.
Here are 6 rules of conduct that will help strengthen your immune system.
• Get more sleep: A minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night is essential to maintain a strong immune system. This rest period gives your immune system a chance to recover. If you feel overwhelmed, try using an extra pillow when you go to bed; a slightly raised head helps to get rid of nasal congestion and improve night sleep.
• Keep moving: You may not feel like exercising in cold weather, but staying active helps boost your immune response and fight infection. Exercise 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
• Wash your hands often: The flu virus can stay out of the body for up to 24 hours, which means germs can spread easily. Touching germ-contaminated surfaces is a common way to catch a cold or flu. Washing your hands regularly helps kill bacteria.
• Eat vegetables. Eating foods high in antioxidants can help boost your immune system. Healthy foods include cabbage, garlic, and tomatoes. It is also important to drink plenty of water so that the body does not become dehydrated.
• Reduce stress: If possible, try to avoid particularly stressful situations, as this can weaken the immune system, making it weak and vulnerable to colds. A warm bath is an effective way to relax and also relieve nasal congestion.
• Take supplements: Vitamins, minerals, and supplements have been shown to promote immune system health and may help prevent nasal congestion and the flu.