The days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder which can only mean one thing– it’s time to get the Canada Goose jackets and Aritzia blanket scarves out! What’s not to love about winter? A blanket of snow lining the landscape, hot chocolate by the fireplace, and a plethora of green and red everywhere. Yet, in our recollections and memories of winter, we forget something that seems to plague almost all of us: the cold. The common cold has us helpless and miserable every winter. It’s a ritual that we’ve all experienced, and we’ve come to accept the runny nose, scratchy sore throat, countless sneezes, and headaches. But what if we told you that the cold is preventable? Luckily, we have three tips and tricks to help you avoid and overcome the common cold this flu season.
The first tip is staying active. Although, we may want to stay bundled up in our blankets watching Netflix in hibernation as the cold weather passes, if you want to keep healthy and headache-free, a simple walk is the way to go. Studies show that moderate levels of exercise help improve immune system function and reduce the severity of respiratory tract viral infections. This is because exercise helps flush out bacteria from our lungs and airway that could go on to infect us. However, we also should not be overworking ourselves because over exercising the body can actually have the opposite effect. Overworking our bodies makes us susceptible to bacteria and viruses by weakening our immune system. Therefore, even taking 20 minutes out of your day for a walk is enough to help prevent the cold.
Teenagers are notorious for our irregular sleep schedules. I’m sure we’ve all heard about the adverse side effects of sleep deprivation, as sleep is essential to help our bodies heal and repair. Sleep not only prevents colds by helping our bodies fend off viruses, but rest also is critical to bouncing back from a cold. Adequate sleep maximizes the infection-fighting antibodies our body produces, making our recovery quicker and easier. Now, it can be hard to get some sleep when you’re coughing every second, but there are a few at-home remedies that can help you ease those cold symptoms, so you can get some rest. For example, a steamy shower can help clear our airways by loosening mucus as well as herbal tea with honey can help soothe your throat to help with the coughing.
Maintaining your diet so you are receiving an adequate amount of nutrients is also essential to staying healthy and happy. Loading up on greens such as kale and spinach are known to boost your immune system by ensuring that immune cells in your gut and skin function properly. These immune cells are also known as intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), and they act as the first line of defence for our immune systems. Eating greens sends a chemical signal to our bodies to boost specific cell-surface proteins necessary for these cells the immune cells to function effectively. In short, sipping on a kale smoothie and munching on some kale chips every now and then should keep you healthy.
Now, these tips may seem simple, but we often don’t prioritize them in our busy and hectic lives. At the end of the day staying healthy should be more important than anything else. So although these tips may seem straightforward, they are critical to staying healthy and avoiding the cold this winter.