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Five tips on fighting off colds and flu

No need to go into hiding this winter. These research-proven strategies will protect you and help you to stay well when everyone else is sick.

It’s the season for colds, flu, stomach bugs and all those other ills that spread when the weather changes. But don’t start calculating your sick days just yet. This year you can do more than wash your hands and cross your fingers.
Here’s what to try to avoid sneezes, tummy aches or flat-out-in-bed flu.

1. Pop a vitamin-D supplement at breakfast

Vitamin D boosts the ability of immune cells lining the lungs to fight off viruses.

2. Sleep at least seven hours a night

A good night’s rest revitalises you and lowers the odds you’ll wake up with a sore throat, cough and runny nose. Too little sleep triggers a drop in the activity of the immune system’s natural killer cells – a fall-off of as much as 30%, a study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden suggests.

3. Keep zinc lozenges in your desk drawer

If you start sucking on these as soon as you feel the first sniffle (that’s why you want the lozenges at hand), your cold will last a shorter period of time and will be less severe, new research has found.

4. Lather up before hitting the food court

The sanitising hand gel in your bag does a good job of killing bacteria and seasonal viruses like those that cause colds and flu. But it hardly has an effect on the noroviruses (extremely resilient viruses) that cause stomach flu. Wet your hands, soap them and rub together for atleast 20 seconds, then rinse with warm running water.

5. Schedule your flu shot today

While it’s not a guarantee that you won’t get flu, a vaccine cuts your odds significantly – far more than anything else you can do to stay healthy.

 

Find out how eating guavas can help keep you well this winter.

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