Nobody likes being sick, especially when you’re trying to study or work. As we are now officially in the winter months, we thought we’d share a few tips about staying healthy during the flu season.
Wash your hands
All day, every day, you are exposed to germs. From holding onto the rail on the bus or escalator, pressing the button to call a lift, opening doors, even holding your own mobile phone – there are innumerable ways to come into contact with flu germs.
Wash your hand regularly with warm water and soap to stop the spread of germs. No water and soap available? Invest in a bottle of hand sanitiser. They are cheap, readily available from all supermarkets and convenience stores, and can be small enough to fit in your handbag or book bag.
Boost your immune system
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is important for your body and mind, all year round. In the lead-up to the winter months and throughout, you should make an effort to keep your immune system boosted with the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy, either in ‘fresh form’, or through multi-vitamins.
Here are a few ways increase your vitamin intake and help you fight the flu:
- Up your vitamin C – orange, lemon, leafy greens such as spinach or kale
- Decrease inflammation – beetroot, carrot, ginger
- Settle nausea - ginger
- Soothe your sore throat – honey
Vegetable soups are also a great way to get a large number of vitamins and antioxidants in one hit, plus if you season your soup or other meals with spices such as cumin, ginger or turmeric you will get an extra dose of health.
It is so important for you to keep hydrated when you have the flu. This helps your body to cleanse and flush out toxins. Teas and tisanes are also a great way of easing flu symptoms. Instead of your usual caffeinated option, instead go for options such as green, echinacea, lemon and ginger, elderberry or liquorice root.
A good way to get rid of bacteria in your nose and throat is to gargle with warm salty water. You might have a bit of a dry throat immediately afterwards (keep hydrated!), but it can often relieve sore throats and clear airways. If you don’t want to gargle with saltwater, there are also other gargle options available from supermarkets and chemists.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep makes your body and mind function better at the best of times, but it is even more important for you to get enough sleep when you have the flu. Your body recovers and regenerates while you are asleep, so do yourself a favour and get plenty of sleep when you are unwell. You body will thank you for it.
While all you might want to do when you are sick is to curl up in bed, sometimes a brisk walk in cooler air can actually make you feel better. Getting outside can often clean your nose, make breathing easier, and decrease the pressures of congestion. Getting out in the sunshine will also boost your stores of vitamin D.
Similar to getting fresh air, having a hot shower – or even going into a steam-room or sauna – can help ease congestion and relieve inflamed muscles and nasal passages. If you are in a sauna, you might even try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the rock water… just make sure you ask the other people in the sauna first.
If you do get sick this flu season, please do your part to help stop the spread of germs: cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash your hands (or use hand sanitiser), and stay home from class or work.
Next up in our health series, we will talk about staying sexually healthy.
What are your methods to beat the flu? Share your tips with us by tagging @studyperth on social media.