How to avoid getting ill in winter

[Photo: Getty]
[Photo: Getty]

No one wants to spend precious annual leave coughing and sneezing into their eggnog. But short of spending the Christmas period alone in your under-stairs cupboard, is there anything you can actually do to avoid coming down with the winter lergy?

Fortunately, the answer is yes. Here are some expert tips on how to enjoy a snuffle-free winter.

Stop touching your face

Public transport journeys are party time for germs but, luckily, there are ways that you can minimise how many winter nasties you come into contact with.

“I would advise commuters to avoid touching their face unnecessarily and to carry around a pocket-sized anti-bacterial alcohol-based hand wash which will kill those winter viruses which can survive on surfaces,” says Dr Dinesh Silva, GP at Doctaly.

Carry cleaning wipes with you

Eating on planes and trains can also be a potential germ-fest.

“Airplane table tops and train tables often host a lot of germs, so taking a few cleaning wipes with you on your travels can be useful,” explains Dr Hugh Coyne of Doctify.

Eat the right foods

Dr Silva says that your diet “cannot stop you directly from getting ill” but eating a certain way can help promote a healthy immune system.

“Foods rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids such as fish help the cellular processes involved in immunity,” he advises. “The other nutrients that are important are vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc which can be found in fruit, nuts and meat.”

[Photo: Getty]
[Photo: Getty]

Wash your hands regularly

This may be classic mum advice but it does actually work, according to Dr Coyne: “It seems obvious but measures such as regular handwashing with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing and before meals really does make a difference.”

Keep exercising

There aren’t any concrete studies suggesting that putting in hours at the gym prevents you from coming down with a virus, but Dr Silva says that it’s likely that staying active boosts your immune system.

He explains: “Exercise improves circulation, helps flush out the respiratory system and reduces stress hormone production, all of which, in theory, should bolster the immune system.”

The 2014 National Flu Survey found that people who did 2.5 hours of rigorous exercise per week were 10% less likely to get flu.

[Photo: Getty]
[Photo: Getty]

Don’t overdo the booze

Again, we say this in your mother’s voice, but Dr Coyne advises that booze “impairs the immune system leaving people susceptible to infection”. Try to keep your mulled wine consumption moderate.

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