We are in challenging times! How do you stay well when we are not only approaching cold and flu season, but also have the threat of a novel coronavirus to deal with? Here are our top tips to keep yourself healthy.
Pristine hands! Wash them with soap and use sanitisers that are provided in public spaces or that you have managed to hoard in your personal collection. This is a top tip from doctors for avoiding the spread of all contagious illness. Many pathogens enter your body when you touch your mouth, which happens unconsciously many times a day. Keep those mitts clean and sanitised.
Social Distancing. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping a distance of one metre between yourself and others when out of your house, or when in your house if a family member is unwell. This reduces the chance of inhaling pathogen-containing droplets if a sick person coughs or sneezes around you. If you can work from home, now is a good time to do so, and of course if you are sick stay home.
Nutrients. Your immune system is reliant on numerous nutrients to function properly and even a mild deficiency can lead to impaired immunity. Zinc, selenium, copper, vitamins D, A, C, E, B-6, folate and CoQ10 are all crucial for immune function. According to the Harvard School of Medicine the best strategy is a nutrient dense diet, supplemented with a daily multi. Mega-dosing when illness strikes is not advised. When it comes to choosing a multi or CoQ10 supplement, choose quality products that have been formulated for bioavailability, such as our multi and CoQ10.
Iron deficiency, deal with it. Being illness prone, or having a lingering cold may be a sign of iron deficiency. This deficiency needs targeted treatment, usually with a high-dose prescription iron supplement. At risk groups include vegetarians, vegans, athletes and pre-menopausal women, so if you think this could be you, get a ferritin test to be sure you are winter-ready.
Live a protective lifestyle. Looking after yourself year-round is the best insurance against seasonal ills and sickness in general. A balanced diet, high in fruits, veges, protein and healthy fats is the foundation, along with regular exercise, avoiding smoking, adequate sleep, minimal alcohol consumption, that daily multi and stress management. This is something you can work on right now. Choose one thing to improve (say, getting your 5+ serves of fruit and veges today), work on that habit, then tackle something else.
Grandma tips for symptom control. If you’ve already succumbed to a nasty, the best you can do for yourself is rest, support your immunity and try to stay comfortable. Traditional remedies can be surprisingly effective for symptom control although they are certainly not a substitute for medical care if your sickness is serious (be smart). Some tried and tested remedies for symptomatic relief include:
- Lemon and honey. Boil lemons with their skins in water for at least 5 minutes. Pour into a cup and add honey to taste. Manuka honey is great here, as it’s also anti-bacterial.
- Raw garlic! Garlic is a traditional cold antidote that many swear by. Cut peeled garlic cloves into pill sized chunks and swallow them whole throughout the day.
- Eucalyptus oil. Place a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water. This can help clear up your sinuses.
- Stay hydrated. Along with your lemon water, make use of herbal teas, soups and broths to keep hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re not well and that just leaves you feeling worse.
And lastly, don’t panic.. or try to be a hero. It can be very tempting (and is sometimes necessary) to ‘soldier on’ when you are unwell, but you enhance your recovery and minimise the chance of passing your illness to others if you stay home and rest up. Keep in mind that you are far more likely to have picked up a common cold than be suffering from Covid-19, but if you seem to be getting worse, are having breathing difficulties or are developing a fever, do not hesitate to call your GP or the Ministry of Health Healthline (0800 611 116) for advice.
We hope you find something useful in these tips. Look after yourselves! We will get through this!