Tag Archives: cold

7 tips to fight the common cold

The cold snap is just around the corner, arriving at a pace we’d rather not get in the way of. This is the time of the year in which colds, coughs, sore throats and runny noses are running rampant, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re well prepared from any potential attacks on your body!

Remember, it takes just one little cough or sneeze from an “infected stranger” to put you out for 2 weeks. The following Top 7 tips for preventing the common cold are worth their word count in gold – it could be the difference between you making it through this cold season unscathed or being ill for 50% of it:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

During the colder months, you may find it increasingly difficult to get out of your warm cosy bed, ready to face to cold outdoors. On average, we sleep just 6 1/2 hours according the UK Sleep Council. This simply isn’t long enough in order to maintain a strong immune system – Keep you body healthy by grabbing at least 7 to 8 hours of shut eye each night.

2. Eat Fruit & Vegetables!

Unhealthy comfort food such as chocolate and baked goods can be the easy fix for nutrition whilst the snow falls outside. Try and substitute this habit for plenty of fresh fruit and veg. If you’re in desperate need for a sugar fix, try going for an in season satsuma or a handful of plump raisins. Root vegetables are also in harvest, so getting hold of suede, turnips, pumpkin and squash is an easy task. Affordable too!

3. Milk And Cookies!

OK maybe not so much the cookie part, but all dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt are great sources of vitamins A and B12 – important weapons in your immune system arsenal. The calcium found in dairy also helps to keep bones strong.

4. Keep exercising

You’ve got 80% more chance of getting a cold in the winter than any other time of the year – That’s why you want to make sure you’re as fit as possible to defend against any unwanted viruses. Aim to do around 120 minutes of aerobic or cardio exercise each week to help strengthen your immune system, and help you feel more energetic.

5. Start your day properly

You can’t beat the warming sensation that porridge can provide on a cold winter morning. It’s not every one’s cup of tea, but porridge boosts your intake of fibre for the day helping you feel fuller for longer. A few slices of fresh fruit in addition to a healthy dose of honey makes for the perfect start to any day. Read more about porridge in another one of our articles: 10 ways to kick start your day

6. Keep your hands clean

If you use public transport, are out and about throughout the day or generally handle a lot of items during the working day, you could in potential danger of picking up a dormant bug from a surface. Aim to wash your hands before every meal and after you use the bathroom in order to minimise coming in contact with any viruses – Scrub for at least 30 seconds people!

7. Multi-vitamins can help

During the winter months, get hold of an easy to swallow multi-vitamin tablet that you can introduce into your morning routine. It’ll help to keep your vitamin reserves topped up whilst your venture around the great outdoors.

Go any tips you’d like to add to this list? Leave us a comment below.

Sneeze and risk infecting the entire room for hours

If everyone you know is coming down with a cold and flu then a big culprit to the spread of these germs and viruses is sneezing! We all know that coughing and sneezing can spread colds. However, scientists have discovered that the sneeze from a flu sufferer can lead to the virus not only infecting an entire room but also being contagious for several hours.

This finding gives further evidence to the theory that going into your doctor’s waiting room could lead to you coming out worse than when you entered. The concentrations of germs expelled into the air are large enough so that when breathed in up to over an hour after they were first expelled you can catch the illness. It also highlights why you are more likely to pick up an illness at the start of your holiday after sharing a long plane journey with other people who are ill.

The photo below, caught on a high speed camera gives a visual reminder of just how easily a virus can be spread. Stopping the spread of germs through a sneeze is simply a case of educating people to cover and catch those germs before they are thrown out into the air everyone else in the room is breathing!

Other studies have tended to concentrate on the larger droplets that are expelled and drop to the floor or a surface very quickly. However, this study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface was focussing on the smaller airborne droplets that it found can stay in the air for many hours or even days.

Dr Linsey Marr led the group of researchers from Virgina Tech in the U.S. who took air samples from three cross-country plane journeys, three nurseries and a healthcare clinic’s waiting room. From the samples, droplets of the flu virus were found in half of the cases. The researchers found that a typical cubic metre of air carried in it about 16,000 particles of flu virus. Dr Linsey Marr said, ‘Given these concentrations, the amount of viruses a person would inhale over one hour would be ­adequate to induce infection.’

He also noted that the ventilation systems in most offices will help to remove and circulate the contaminated air fairly quickly. Typically, a sneeze can expel about 40,000 droplets across a room at speeds of more than 100mph. Make sure you cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing so that you don’t spread your illness further.

Key tips to keep energy levels up!

As we’re based in the UK, The Healthy Hideout is now deep into the winter with Spring not too far away. However, some of us may find that the cold is still having a negative effect on energy levels. Although curling up in front of the fire with a nice warm drink may seem more tempting than a 2 hour session at the gym, the body still requires activity in order to stay alert. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s key tips on keeping your energy levels high, leaving you feeling more awake, ready for each winter day!

  • Exercise – It may seem obvious, and the winter breeze does make it more difficult to gather up enough motivation, but exercise is the bodies natural way of keeping energy levels high. Regular exercise gives the body a natural endorphin high, releasing such chemicals including adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. Even a few minutes of exercise a day can have a drastic effect on how you feel, whilst regular exercise throughout the week will produce optimum results.
  • Diet – Be careful not to rely on high sugar foods and processed goods to give you a quick energy boost during the day. Quick fixes such as this can result in having drastic energy drops, causing you to search for that next fix – not a healthy process. Try to keep your diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, and try to incorporate complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or peanut butter on corn cakes. Keep protein intake high to banish after work “glumness”.
  • Water – We’ve mentioned this in many previous articles on the Healthy Hideout, but do not forget the importance of keeping hydrated even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Taking on board plenty of water helps the body get rid of toxins, whilst helping to battle tiredness. Try incorporating herbal teas to give your body an extra kick!
  • Sleep – The later you fall asleep, the more out of sync you’ll become and the more tired you’ll feel throughout the day. This is because sleeping is linked to light, and our bodies natural response to the dark is to sleep. An earlier night’s sleep will almost guarantee a spring in your step the next day.

You can’t put a price on your bodies health and wellbeing! Try implementing some of the above before this winter is over, so that you may be better prepared for the next.

Health Tips: Combat a cold!

As autumn quickly begins to feel like winter, a snuffly nose is almost inevitable for many of us. Although your healthy living can be sustained by maintaining vitamin levels, wrapping up warm and getting plenty of sleep, what exactly can we do to reduce the risk of catching a cold?

Wrap up warm this winter!

Wrap up warm this winter!

How do colds and viruses spread?

Not known by many, the most common way of catching a cold is by touching your face, nose or eyes. When coughing or sneezing up to 40000 infected droplets can attach themselves to surfaces, door handles and even light switches, surviving for up to 3 hours. The next person to come along and touch the surface takes the virus with them, unknowingly touching their face or nose, allowing the virus to enter the nasal cavity and start the process of catching a cold.  Remember, you’re more likely to catch a cold from someone by simply shaking their hand!

Boost your defences!

As mentioned above, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system running smoothly, ensuring it has everything it needs to ward off any unwelcome visitors.

  • Try to get a good nights sleep and maintain a regular sleeping pattern – This helps to keep your energy levels high and stress levels low.
  • Avoid touching your face and nose (although you may do it without even thinking) and wash your hands regularly, especially after being out of the house.
  • If you travel via public transport, wear gloves to help protect yourself from contaminated surfaces.
  • When you feel the need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue and dispose of it straight away.
  • If you find yourself tissue-less, use the crook of your arm and not your hands, preventing any further surface contamination.
  • Avoid wet hair and wet clothes at all costs – We don’t need to tell you why!
Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Why do colds run wild in winter?

A recent theory from one Professor Eccles suggests that because we have colder noses, we reduce our levels of resistance to infection. “Every time we breathe in cold air we cool the nasal lining, and viruses multiply and breed faster when cells are cool. We wrap up our bodies to keep warm but our noses are often exposed to the bitter cold – covering your nose with a scarf could prevent colds.”

Let’s face it – I’m going to catch a cold

It’s not the best attitude to have, but you can always benefit by being prepared for the inevitable. Studies have shown that the common cold is not as contagious as you may think, when compared to the flu virus. The symptoms of a cold tend to occur around 2 days after being infected.  These early symptoms including coughing, sneezing and a runny nose – A time at which you are most likely to infect others.

Keep warm, get plenty of rest and ensure that you are hydrated well. Typically colds last between 5 – 7 days so the inconvenience doesn’t last forever. Eating spicy foods is know to help that “bunged up” feeling, whilst medication can temporarily relieve minor headaches and pains. It is a viral infection, so there is no “instant cure” available at present.

“Ride the wave” and you’ll be back to healthy living in no time. Do you have any “feel better” tips for all the cold sufferers out there?

Keep healthy this Christmas!

It is a well known fact that more people are ill over the winter season than any other as “cold-related” illnesses run rampage throughout the population. It’s important to remember that keeping our bodies natural defences running at maximum is key in fighting through this festive time, whilst maintaining good physical and mental well-being. Here are our top tips this Christmas!

  • Eat well, Rest Well – Make sure you are taking on board your 5 portions of fruit and veg each day, whilst getting a good nights sleep each day. This will keep vital vitamin supplies high for your immune system, especially vitamin C. A nice relaxing bath before bed, accompanied with aromatherapy will help you rest better.
  • Wash your hands – Regular washing of your hands with soap and warm water will help against carrying infections. Lathering for at least 30 seconds will reduce the risk of spreading infections.
  • Keep Warm – It is important, and often overlooked, to keep warm when the temperature starts falling. If your body is wasting vital energy maintaining your core temperature, your body can’t use energy fighting against germs. If you lucky enough to have access to a sauna, utilise it daily to sweat out any toxins your body may have taken on board.
  • Vaccinate – The flu vaccine is free if your over 65 so it is recommended that is taking advantage of. Contact your local GP surgery for more information.
  • Keep Hydrated –  As our homes get warmer over the cold periods, the air tends to be a lot dryer. It is important to take on board as many fluids as possible to ensure your body is well hydrated.
  • Keep your distance! – When someone sneezes or coughs in your vacinity, germs tend to spread very quickly. It’s a good idea to keep a tissue handy to cover your nose and mouth whenever possible – catch it, bin it, kill it!

For more detailed information on keeping healthy this season, contact your local GP today. Remember stay healthy – stay happy!