How to stay healthy this winter

Good hygiene and eating habits go a long way in the fight against colds and the flu.

Prevention really is better than a cure when it comes to winter flu and colds. A few simple precautions can mean the difference between a miserable winter and a healthy one. Firstly, remember what your mom told you: wash your hands often and thoroughly.

“It’s hard to say what percentage of infectious diseases are spread by touch,” says Dr. Rich Zane, vice chair of Emergency Medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “But we do know that all the germs that cause illness are susceptible to soap and water and disinfectants. Washing your hands is the first line of defense against contracting cold and flu viruses.”

It’s not just about protecting yourself, though. If you have a cold or the flu, or even just a warning sniffle or sneeze, be socially responsible. “People have to exercise proper respiratory etiquette, and that means covering your cough or sneeze, always,” he adds.

Stemming the spread of germs and preventing epidemics benefits everyone in the long-term, particularly in stopping the mutation of germs into super viruses.  

“When you are sick, stay home and keep your children out of school,” says Zane. “If someone comes into the ER with signs of a cold or flu they are asked to put a mask on. We continually wash our hands. It’s all basic stuff, but it works.”

Use your diet

“Strengthening your immune system with a diet loaded with immune-boosting foods is a cheap, simple strategy for preventing illness,” says Gloria Tsang, RD, founder of HealthCastle.com.

Stock up on

Yogurt for probiotics: “Look for Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus reuteri on the label. These have been scientifically shown to prevent colds by improving immune response.”
Citrus for vitamin C: “Dietitians actually recommend against a daily supplement. Instead, load up on oranges, kiwis, cantaloupe and strawberries, and only take supplements if you’ve got early symptoms of the flu.”
Mushrooms for beta-glucan: “Mushrooms have been shown to enhance [pathogen-eating] macrophage activity, which is critical in warding off infection. So, toss extra mushrooms in your pasta sauce, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, or pizza.”

Another reason to quit

Cigarette smokers aren’t going to like what Dr. Zane says about the much-maligned habit. “People who smoke are more susceptible to respiratory viruses. Smokers are less immunocompetent and smoking decreases lung function,”  he says. “The lungs’ cilia act as a brush to sweep viruses and debris up and out of the lungs, and “smoking causes the cilia to become clogged with tar [so] they can’t do their job.” 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.