Sneezy does it How to survive winter without catching a cold; TUESDAY Colds are the most common reason for sickness and absence from work - accounting for a whopping 27million days off work a year in the UK. That's not surprising when the average adult gets two to four a year. But, say experts, you can reduce your risk of infection. Here's how...
Yet, research shows we wash our hands for an average of just six seconds.
"Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially after travelling on public transport, after going to the bathroom and before eating food," advised Justin Jones, professional head of physiology at Nuffield Health.
Smile when you get your flu jab Research by University of Nottingham has found evidence that being in a positive mood on the day of your flu vaccination can increase how effective it is. The team measured negative mood, positive mood, physical activity, diet and sleep over a six-week period in a group of 138 older people due to have their flu jabs.
Then they examined how well the vaccine was working by measuring the amount of influenza antibody four weeks and 16 weeks after the injection.
The results showed that good mood was associated with higher levels of antibody.
Make a preemptive strike While many of us take the herbal remedy Echinacea once we have a cold, research has shown that it can also be taken preventatively.
Dr Margaret Ritchie, who led the trial at Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews, found Echinaforce (which uses fresh extracts of Echinacea) supported and enhanced the immune system and reduced inflammation.
(A. Vogel Echinaforce is available as a tincture, chewable tablets and a hot drink from Boots and www.avogel.co.uk).
Be sociable "Close social bonds boost immunity," said Dr Megan Arroll, health psychologist (www.meganarroll.com). "People who have relationships with a variety of others, such as work colleagues, friends, extended family, hobby/gym buddies, etc, are less likely to come down with a cold. So a simple, and enjoyable, trick to enhance immune function is to spend time with others."
Liven up your love life Those who make love once or twice a week produce 30 per cent more immunoglobulin A cells - viral antibodies - than those who don't, a study found.
Make sleep a priority "Lack of sleep suppresses your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections and metabolic and hormone changes," said Lisa Artis at The Sleep Council. "Research suggests that the release of certain hormones during sleep boosts the immune system."
Eat a colourful diet "There are more than 20,000 important antioxidants in the fruit and vegetables that we eat, and we need all of them," said Emma Ross, A. Vogel nutritionist. "Aim for a rainbow diet, incorporating as many different colours as possible, particularly the dark greens and purples."
Ward off germs with garlic "Garlic acts as a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer-cell activity and increases the efficiency of antibody production," explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of The Natural Health Bible for Women. Add it to everything you cook.
Mix up shower temperature "Alternate between hot and cold," advises Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SUPERFOODUK.
"This helps to boost your immunity by increasing two types of white blood cells - monocytes and lymphocytes.
"The immune system is stimulated by your body trying to warm itself up from the cold water, while switching to hot water stimulates your body's detoxification system. The fewer toxins we have in our body, the more your immune system is better able to deal with bacteria and viruses."
Drink more water "The water in our body carries nutrients to your cells, and waste and toxins away and keeps body At temperature stable. It keeps the lining of your mouth hydrated and moist, reducing susceptibility to colds," explained Dr Glenville.
with right your "Drinking plenty of water will also help your body deliver nutrients, flush out waste and dilute mucus, helping to eliminate bacteria and viruses that can make you ill."
with to to Get physical "A rub, a hug and a passing touch can all help to decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body," said Shona. "Cortisol reduces your immune response, so snuggle up to a loved one and enjoy the immune-boosting properties of an embrace."
eat left germs Be more active A study at Appalachian State University in North Carolina examined the risks of catching a cold among a group of women aged between 65 and 84 over a 12-week period. Their findings revealed that walking for between 30 and 40 minutes five times a week almost halved the women's risk of catching a cold.
mouth Sneeze into crook of arm Hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerley (www.thehygienedoctor.co.uk) said: "By not sneezing into your hands, you're less likely to spread germs around."
Try this party trick Shake hands with people at parties with your right hand and use your left for eating, suggests Dr Ackerley. "That way, you won't transfer germs to your mouth."
Keep a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) Justin Jones said: "We release different hormones depending on our outlook. Thinking positively releases the immuneboosting hormone DHEA, while thinking negatively releases the immune suppressing hormone cortisol. So staying positive can help you stay healthy."
Let the light in "Get a dose of natural light every day," said Justin. "This stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin which helps to boost your mood and immunity."
...Or take a supplement A recent study in the British Medical Journal found vitamin D supplements were more effective than the flu vaccination, after examining 25 separate trials into whether vitamin D supplements can prevent respiratory tract infections, ranging from a cold to pneumonia.
Researcher, Professor Adrian Martineau, said: "Assuming a UK population of 65million, and that 70 per cent have at least one acute respiratory infection each year, then daily or weekly vitamin D supplements will mean 3.25million fewer people would get at least one acute respiratory infection a year."
Take probiotics after antibiotics You have an increased risk of picking up a cold or flu after taking antibiotics, says nutritional therapist, Hannah Braye.
"A whopping 70 per cent of our immune cells reside in the lining of our guts and, while antibiotics are extremely effective at wiping out infectioncausing bacteria, they also kill beneficial bacteria in our gut at the same time," she explains.
"Replenishing your gut bacteria with a good quality live bacteria supplement such as Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula (www.biokult.com), which contains 14 different strains.
"This is therefore important to support your immune system to prevent colds, flu and other winter bugs."
There's also research to show that multi-strain probiotics can significantly shorten the duration of common colds and help to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Play musical chairs Confined public spaces, such as public transport, are where many colds and flu attacks start, said Dr Ackerley.
One cough can spread 10,000 infectious viruses over 20 feet.
"Cover your mouth with a scarf if commuters are coughing and spluttering or, better still, move seats."
1 ColdZyme (PS9.99 from Boots) mouth spray forms a protective active enzyme barrier on the mucous membrane (a moist tissue that protects against infection) in your throat, making it more difficult for the cold virus to cause illness. ColdZyme can help shorten a cold by acting on the cold virus itself.
2 Vicks First Defence (PS6.55 from pharmacies) nasal spray targets viruses at the earliest sign of a cold. Acting at the back of the nose, it traps the virus and helps your body remove it before it gets a chance to develop.
3 Zinc lozenges: Evidence indicates that zinc acetate lozenges (at doses of about 80 mg/day) may reduce the duration of the common cold by up to three days if started within 24 hours, according to University of Helsinki scientists. (Many zinc lozenges contain zinc nitrate or citric acid not actetate. Try Healthspan Elite Zinc Defence PS9.95 for 45 - www.healthspan.co.uk).
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Feb 6, 2018|
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