Dear Pink, “I feel like I’m always getting sick – if it’s not a full-blown bout of tonsillitis, it’s fevers and general aches and pains. I think it’s because I get the tube every day and I work in an office that has lots of people in it. I already eat healthily, get enough sleep and have started to wrap up warm now that it’s autumn. How can I boost my immunity naturally during flu season?”
It’s official – the hottest summer on record is over and we’re now waking up and feeling the chill. Like you, I also seem to pick up colds and viruses quite easily. I know people that keep a stash of high-strength vitamin C and medicine in their desk drawers, ready for when the next office bug hits, but the best way to fight a cold is to not let it catch you off guard in the first place. As the age-old adage goes, prevention is better than cure, right?
These are my top tips for getting through the colder months in one piece – start incorporating them into your daily life now and by the time flu season really kicks in your immune system will be ready for action.
Drink T + Immunitea Vitamin Super Tea
This caffeine-free blend is not only naturally sweet and delicious, but it also contains 50% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of nine essential vitamins, including vitamin C, which contributes to the healthy functioning of the immune system. T + Immunitea Vitamin Super Tea also contains echinacea and ginseng, which I’ve tried taking before in capsule form but always end up forgetting to take. I drink this tea in the morning as it contains antioxidant-packed green tea, which gives me a bit of a lift but is a much healthier way to start the day than coffee, which tends to make me jittery.
Minimise stress to keep healthy
This might sound like a weird one, but have you ever noticed that you fall ill on the exact days when you need to be at your best? Since I was young, I’ve noticed a link between stress and physical illness, often getting sick before my exams and so on. Obviously, having a stress-free life is near impossible for most people, but incorporating relaxing activities into your day is definitely worthwhile. Research has shown that stress can lower your ability to stay healthy, especially during cold and flu season. Take a yoga class once or twice a week and try listening to a guided mindfulness meditation every day to keep your stress levels in check.
Wash your hands regularly with soap
As you travel on the tube frequently and spend most days in close contact with others, washing your hands regularly for at least 15 seconds is important. If you often forget to wash your hands, or are going away, try carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitiser in your handbag or keeping one on your desk.
Clean your desk and keyboard
You mentioned that you work in an office. Don’t just assume that the office cleaner will clean your desk and computer equipment properly. Take things into your own hands and clean your desk, phone, keyboard and mouse often with antibacterial wipes – your workspace is a hotspot for germs. Invest in some disinfectant wipes and clean your desk, keyboard, mouse, and phone frequently.
Exercise for half an hour three times a week
As well as seven to eight hours sleep a night and a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit and veg, exercising regularly will also keep your immune system performing at its best. There’s no concrete evidence proving the link between the immune system and exercise, however, it’s believed that cardiovascular exercise can flush bacteria out of the lungs and that exercise also causes white blood cells, which fight disease, to circulate more rapidly. The temperature rise experienced during and after exercise could also help the body to fight infections more effectively. Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones, which as I mentioned before, can compromise the immune system.
If you have a burning health, beauty or wellbeing question, we’ll do our best to answer it, too – drop our Pink editor an email on email@example.com.