Prevent Viruses and stay Healthy this Winter 

As winter takes hold, our immune system’s ability struggles to fend off unwanted pests. This is the prime time for viruses like the influenza and COVID-19 to spread.

Simple Habits we can Adopt to Strengthen our Defences this Season

Maintain hygiene. Our hands are germ magnets, constantly picking up invisible enemies throughout the day. Wash hands regularly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. Do this after being in public places, using the bathroom, before eating / drinking, and particularly after sneezing or coughing. If you are in an area where soap and water aren’t readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are a good substitute. 

Wear a mask in crowded spaces. Wearing a well-fitting mask can decrease the risk of inhaling respiratory droplets carrying viruses. Consider masking up in crowded spaces like public transportation and shopping centres, if practical.  

Boost your natural defences. A healthy immune system is your best asset against infection, in any season. Include nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to fight off viruses. Sleep is important too – aim for 7-8 hours each night to help your body to repair and recharge.  

Get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against the flu and staying up to date on your COVID-19 boosters is an effective way to prevent these specific viruses. Vaccines empower your immune system to recognise and quickly attack the viruses, lessening the severity of illness and reducing the risk of complications. Vaccinations also protect those around you who may be more vulnerable or have compromised immune systems. 

Maintain cough and sneeze etiquette. When you do cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow and dispose of the tissue immediately. Choosing elbow bumps or waves over hugs and kisses can also help break the chain of virus transmission. 

Stay hydrated. Staying adequately hydrated helps our bodies flush out toxins and keeps mucous membranes moist, making it more difficult for viruses to take hold. Carry a reusable water bottle and remember to sip throughout the day. 

Reduce stress. Over a long period, stress can suppress our immune systems. Seek healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, exercise, or spending time in nature. Don’t underestimate the power of rest. If you feel under the weather, carve out some ‘me’ time.  

Always seek medical advice if your symptoms worsen, or do not seem to improve over time.

By implementing these guidelines, we can all navigate the winter season with stronger immune systems and battle any winter blues together. 

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