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How to prevent a cold

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What's the best way to prevent a cold? Read up on these simple and effective tips to help keep cold and flu at bay this winter.

Woman preparing green smoothie at home on cutting board
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How to stop a cold

When it comes to preventing a cold, a proactive approach is best.  And while it's impossible to completely prevent the spread of colds, there are several steps you can take to reduce your chance of becoming sick this winter.

1. Practise good hygiene

Washing your hands frequently is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the transmission of colds. It's also a great idea to carry a small tube of hand sanitizer on you so you can kill germs in their tracks.

You should always resist the urge to touch your face as this can invite those little nasties into your system.

Keep household and workplace surfaces clean and make sure you throw away all tissues after use.

2. Exercise regularly

Keeping active is also a key. It helps increase the body's natural virus-killing cells and is a great way to relieve stress.  

Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, reducing your chance of catching a cold. Plus, regular exercise helps increase the body's natural virus-killing cells.

Exercise also helps to reduce the symptoms of stress and slows down the release of stress hormones, which is a win when you consider that stress can impact the immune system

3. Eat a healthy diet

Be sure to eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains. This will help arm you with the nutrients – like vitamin C and zinc, to support healthy immune system and help fight cold viruses.

4. Sleep well

A good nights sleep can give your body the best chance of fighting off the cold. Plus, if you’re  not getting enough sleep and giving your body more time to rest it can increase your chance of getting a cold.

Research has demonstrated a 4.5 times greater risk of getting sick for people that had less than 5 hours sleep at night compared to those that had 7 hours of sleep each night. The authors concluding that a lack of sleep increases susceptibility to the common cold.  

5. Get your daily dose of vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps to maintain a healthy immune system.

We make vitamin D in the body through sun exposure on our skin and to keep your Vitamin D levels topped up all you need is regular, incidental sun exposure.

That’s a  few minutes each day when the UV index is above 3, like it is in summer. In the cooler months when the UV index is lower you can get outdoors in the middle of the day. 

A naturopath's tips to prevent a cold

ASK THE EXPERTS: Get personalised advice on how to keep your immune system healthy this winter