How to Keep your Immune System Strong During Colder Months
During the winter months, there is a noticeable increase in the number of people who become ill, particularly from colds and influenza. There are a variety of factors that contribute to making it more difficult to keep yourself healthy during this time, but there are some important steps you can take that will help you keep your immune system strong. With a healthy immune system, you are much less likely to become ill, and if you do, the duration of the illness will usually be less.
On that note, here are some effective means of keeping your immune system strong during the colder months of the year:
1. Avoid congestion
Despite the name, the common cold has very little to do with coldness. It’s true that if your body temperature drops too far, your immunity can be compromised, allowing germs to get a bit of a boost. But it’s actually the introduction of these germs into your body that does the most harm.
Before the invention of the microscope, people thought that colds were caused by exposure to cold weather, and it’s a belief that has persisted into the modern era. There is a bit of a grain of truth to this myth, however.
Cold weather doesn’t cause these illnesses, but it does contribute to their spread because when it is cold, people tend to congregate indoors, thus providing more opportunity for germs to spread around. Avoiding congestion and practising isolation as much as possible will go quite a long way towards helping you avoid getting a cold.
2. Keep your hands clean
The most common way for germs to spread is by direct contact, followed by indirect contact, and then through airborne particles.
One of the reasons why teachers and parents of young children get sick more often than everyone else is because of the tendency for kids to coat every available surface with a liberal dose of saliva.
There are germs everywhere, and it’s really easy to fall victim to them if you’re not careful. The easiest safeguard is to get in the habit of always washing your hands before touching your eyes or eating food.
3. Get plenty of vitamin C
You probably already know that vitamin C is good for boosting your immunity. What many people don’t understand about this essential vitamin is that you need to replenish your intake of it at least every four hours, because your body can’t store it.
Natural sources of vitamin C are best, but if you have to supplement, then at least try to use brands that are made without artificial additives. Ideally you should be consuming between 1000mg and 2000mg of vitamin C daily.
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually consume too much vitamin C, and if you do then it can do considerable harm to you. Amounts over 4000mg per day may cause some noticeable side-effects, while doses over 10,000mg per day could cause quite serious side-effects.
4. Keep up your intake of zinc
Zinc is a very important immunity-boosting mineral, so make sure you consume foods that are good sources, or take zinc supplements. While it can be dangerous to take too much zinc over a prolonged amount of time, most people are not in danger of that. Try to not consume more than 80mg of zinc per day, and be alert to signs of zinc toxicity.
Staying healthy and keeping your immune system in good shape during the colder months is mainly just a matter of common sense. As long as you consume a sensible diet, maintain good hygiene habits, and avoid crowded indoor spaces, you should not have a difficult time staying healthy.