Autumn and winter are cold times. Then coughing, hoarseness and sniffles torture us again, every year in beautiful regularity. What can we do to avoid getting sick so often? You can prevent it with these simple tips.
Cold: Why do we get infected so easily?
Coughing, stuffy nose, aching limbs - as inappropriate as we might expect, we get sick in the cold season. Many then speak of a flu. But often it is only a less dangerous, albeit annoying, flu-like infection - a cold. It is usually harmless and is caused by various viruses. Behind the real flu are only influenza viruses, which often trigger large waves of flu. The annual flu vaccination can protect against the influenza viruses. This is particularly recommended for immunocompromised persons, as influenza can be life-threatening. Colds, on the other hand, cannot be fended off even with a vaccination. There are more than 200 different cold pathogens and these mutate constantly. It is very difficult to develop an effective vaccine for this.
But there are a few things we can do to get through the cold season better. An intact immune system can protect us more easily against pathogens. We show you how to make your immune system more resistant in our cold tips.
11 tips to prevent colds
1. Drink a lot
It cannot be stressed often enough how important it is to drink a lot of water - especially during the cold season. Drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water (or diluted juice spritzers and warm teas) throughout the day. This moistens the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and nose. And they can then go back to work at full strength: fending off viruses and bacteria. Extra tip: Drink fresh ginger tea.
2. Wash your second hands
Viruses and bacteria are also transmitted via smear infections. This means they lurk for up to 24 hours on everyday objects such as telephones, pens, elevator buttons and stair railings. From there, we "take them with us" unsuspectingly and even distribute them to our family and friends. Even when shaking hands, kissing or hugging we can easily get infected. Therefore wash your hands with soap several times a day. Clean infected objects such as glasses with hot water and detergent. Put towels in the washing machine and regularly disinfect particularly vulnerable surfaces such as your desk, keyboard, the folding table in the plane, etc.
3. Keep your distance
Of course it is not always possible to keep your distance from your ailing fellow human beings. However, if you can avoid large crowds in the subway, at the market or in confined spaces, the risk of catching a cold is reduced.
4. Going outside
Go outside daily to breathe fresh, moist air. Your mucous membranes are happy, your body can get used to the cold temperatures better and your immune system can become fitter.
5. Ventilate well
In the morning, at noon and in the evening, open all windows for 5 minutes for shock ventilation. This will allow the dry heating air to escape, which will clog your mucous membranes and dry them out. Moist air comes in and supplies you with fresh oxygen and new energy.
Sufficient sleep is very important for the immune system. Those who sleep at least eight hours a night are much more resistant and rested.
If you exercise regularly, you will strengthen your muscles permanently, improve your condition, keep your cardiovascular system fit and can support your immune system. Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are particularly suitable. However, it is better not to exercise if you already have a cold. This would only put additional strain on your circulation and further weaken your immune system.
8. Dress warmly
Hat, gloves, scarf and thick socks provide cosy warmth in adverse weather conditions. And that not only feels good, but is also a simple tip against colds. When you are cold, your body tries to keep the temperature stable - and "saves" all non-essential processes. For example, it slows down the blood flow to the mucous membranes, thus neglecting its immune system. Support your immune system by always keeping your feet and hands warm.
Activate your immune system through regular visits to the sauna or rely on warm-cold alternating showers.
10. Eat fresh fruit and (winter) vegetables
Just five portions of fruit and vegetables a day provide your body with all the important vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances. You can easily find out how much a portion is: The measure is your hands. For example, a handful of strawberries is one portion of fruit. Smoothies, dried fruit, pure fruit juices and unsalted nuts are also part of the "5 a day" rule. Seasonal fruit and vegetables should always be the first choice. Nature automatically provides us with the nutrients appropriate to the season and winter vegetables have many important minerals and vitamins.
11. Avoid stress
When you are relaxed, this affects almost all areas of life: You are happier and more concentrated, you can sleep better and, above all, you don't get sick so easily. This is because chronic stress can lead to inflammation, various diseases and a weakened immune system. With yoga, qigong and meditation you will not let the tension arise in the first place.
Vital substances in the cold season
Well-filled nutrient stores support the human organism. This can have a positive effect on the immune system, our well-being and energy metabolism.
- Vitamin C contributes to a normal functioning of the immune system and a normal energy metabolism. Vitamin C also helps to protect the cells from oxidative stress.
- Zinc is important for the human body and contributes, for example, to a normal functioning of the immune system.
- Iron contributes to normal energy metabolism and normal functioning of the immune system.
Our conclusion: You can actively prevent a cold. It doesn't take much to do so: support your immune system permanently, sleep a lot, eat healthy food, exercise and banish the viruses with simple hygiene measures.
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Picture: istockphoto.com / Deagreez