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
Local

Interfaith leaders denounce anti-Muslim harassment in Brooklyn

Community leaders of all faiths gathered in Brooklyn on Tuesday to push back on what they described as hateful acts against the local Muslim community.

National

Parched Texas town turns to sewage water to…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita…

International

NYPD: Robber makes elderly man drive to Queens…

A robber grabbed an elderly man's neck outside a Queens supermarket, stole his wallet and made him drive to ATMs for withdrawals last week, police said.

Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

Arts

Theater: “Love and Human Remains” is like a…

"Love and Human Remains" is the worst show we've ever not walked out of.

Movies

Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.