Saturday, September 30, 2017

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Winter is on the way, and with it, the passing of another year. There is still much to look forward to, however, from snowball fights in the garden to the traditional Christmas festivities we all enjoy at this time of year. Unfortunately, winter also brings in the cold, and you won’t be able to enjoy the season if you fall prey to any of the winter illnesses that we can all become prone too during these chillier months. Therefore, we need to do all we can to keep ourselves and our families safe, and free of any nasty bugs and infections. 

We have some great advice for you here, giving you tips on making sensible life choices, knowledge on the best foods to eat, and some useful guidelines in keeping your house warm and cozy. Read on, and arm yourself with the following pieces of information to protect you from the winter cold.

Follow These Good Habits

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1. Protect yourself when you go outside by wearing your winter essentials. A hat, scarf, and gloves, are must-have items at this time of year. Whenever cold gets to your exposed skin, you open yourself up to the risks of an infection, as well as frostbite and hypothermia. Wrapping yourself up in as many layers as you can comfortably manage is your first line of defense against the cold spell. Oh, and don’t forget your umbrella, as you don’t want to be caught out and get stuck in the middle of a rain or snow shower.

2. Wash your hands, whether you are feeling unwell or not.
There will be many people with colds over the winter season, and the tiny drops of mucus that are expelled through sneezing will be everywhere. Therefore, avoid touching as many surfaces as possible when out in public spaces, to stop you from getting infected. When you can, wash your hands as soon as possible. Should you have a cold, washing your hands will reduce the risk of you spreading an infection to anybody else, be that the general public, or your family at home.

3. Keep your home clean on a daily basis.
As we mentioned above, infection can be spread, and this is especially true around the home. Keep all your surfaces clean with disinfectant, and give commonly used items, such as door handles, a regular wash and polish too, as they are bound to get the most human contact during the day.

4. Don’t miss out on sleep. Scientific studies have shown that we can protect our immune system when we get plenty of sleep, as the body has the chance to heal itself while we rest. Should you fall ill, you may need to take some kind of sleeping remedy to help you drift off sooner, but you will get better quicker if you manage to get your z’s. Of course, you should also add an extra blanket or too, and maybe a hot water bottle, to preserve your warmth while you rest.

5. Don’t skip recommended vaccinations. Your local health center will be offering flu vaccinations before winter takes its hold, so take advantage while you can. Some people are at higher risk, including pregnant women, the elderly, and those with serious health conditions. In any case, it is always worth braving the needle, whether you fall into those categories or not, because it may just save your life.

Bolster your immune system with a healthy diet

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1. Take plenty of vitamin C. While you should focus on getting all your essential vitamins during the year, vitamin C is particularly useful for fighting off potential colds and other illnesses. Most people think of citrus fruits when it comes to vitamin C, but there are plenty of other foods too, including leafy greens, papaya, and those Christmas dinner staples, brussel sprouts. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin C, or you have particular food allergies, consider taking supplements with your regular diet. 

2. Eat foods rich in zinc. You need to keep your zinc levels up to bolster your immune system. According to nutritionists, those people who don’t eat enough zinc-rich foods are more prone to falling ill than others, and those who catch the common cold will stay sick for longer. Thankfully, your Christmas turkey has plenty of zinc, as do chicken and other poultry. Other foods high in zinc include baked beans, yogurts, and shrimp.

3. Look for sources of Omega-3. Foods containing omega 3 include fatty fish, flaxseed, and leafy vegetables. The acids contained in these foods can boost the immune system by enhancing the activity of our white blood cells. These cells act as a miniature army inside our bodies, and do a wonderful job by repelling and destroys invading viruses and bacteria. 

4. Make a winter soup. There’s nothing better than eating a nice, warm soup on a winter’s day, and it turns out, this is good for you. Chicken soup, in particular, carries properties that can protect your immune system, not least the protein from the meat. In whatever soup you make, add those other essential vitamins, using the vegetables of your choice. While the wind is battering your windows, and the snow builds up outside, you can take extra comfort from the health benefits, as well as the delicious taste.

5. Drink tea with honey. Another winter staple that is especially good for you. Green tea, in particular, contains powerful antioxidants that can strengthen the cells in your body to protect your immune system. Honey also has many health benefits, whether you take it with tea, or just eat it from a spoon. Not only will it soothe an irritated and sore throat, but honey also contains micronutrients that can support your immune system. 

Stay warm inside your home

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1. Before the cold sets in, check your heating system. If it's not working properly, you aren’t going to get the heat you need from your radiators over the winter. Even if it does appear to be working fine, you should still book a service. There may be issues you aren’t aware of, and a working boiler running efficiently will save you money over the long-term, and keep you warmer longer. 

2. Stock up on your winter fuel. Central heating isn’t the only source of warmth during the winter, and many of you will have alternative methods, such as using logs or propane to heat your home. Make sure you contact your suppliers early and buy in bulk. It’s better to have too much than too little, as you wouldn’t want to run out in the middle of a cold spell. Therefore, use companies, such as Quarles propane delivery and get your propane tanks filled up, and build up a supply of wood, coal, and other fuel to keep your winter fire burning.

3. Check around the home for any gaps in the walls, floors, and windows. You won’t feel the benefits of your heating over the winter if the warmth escapes through any problem cracks, and you wouldn’t want to feel that irritating cold draft on the back of your neck, either. Therefore, call in a professional, or embark on a little DIY to cover up any avenue where heat could escape. Weather-strip your doors and windows, and use caulk on any gaps around the walls and floors in your home. Reducing the cold is reducing the chance of a winter infection.

4. Maximise the heat in your home. You may not have the money to pay for a loft or cavity wall insulation, though both these methods are a great way to preserve heat in your home. It may be that your energy supplier will do the work for you at little or no extra cost, or you may be entitled to a heating grant from your local government. However, you can still maximise what heat you do have in the winter. This includes letting whatever is left of the sun into the house during the day and making sure doors and windows are shut firmly to block out the cold. 

5. Forego your shorts and t-shirts. We have already told you about dressing up warm when you go outside, but you should do the same when you are inside, too. Wear warm clothes, such as a sweater and thermal underwear. This is especially important if there are areas in your house that are colder than others. Sudden changes in temperature can cause your body to react negatively, increasing the chance of an infection. So, while you wouldn’t want to waste too much energy by having the heating on in rooms you rarely use, wearing the appropriate gear is going to give you added defense against the cold when you enter them.

Final thoughts

A little knowledge goes a long way. While we can’t guarantee you won’t fall ill over the winter, using the advice we gave you will give you a greater chance of success at beating any chances of infection. Should you have any advice for our readers, be sure to let us know. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the season, and have a wonderful time with your family.

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