Healthy through the winter: 17 tips on how to prevent a cold

Especially in the cold season our body is susceptible to cold viruses. To protect ourselves from infection, prevention is important.

It is annoying and unwanted – the common cold.

Especially in the winter months, we are regularly visited by cold germs and before you know it, you are already in bed with a cough. But did you know that you don’t have to put up with it so easily?

Below, we present you with simple tips that you can use to avoid catching a cold.

In public

1. Dress warmly

In most cases rhinoviruses are responsible for colds. Evidence shows that these pathogens multiply better in cooler temperatures, which is why we are particularly susceptible to colds in the winter months. To counteract these, you should always dress warmly.

Wearing a hat and gloves is especially important, because both our head and our hands give off body heat quickly. In addition, a scarf protects your airways.

2. Cough and sneeze hygienically

To protect yourself and your environment, coughing and sneezing with adequate hygiene is important. In the best case, use a handkerchief or the crook of your arm.

Additionally, you should always turn away from other people and food when coughing and sneezing, as a cold is a droplet infection.

3. Avoid shaking hands

Shaking hands may be a form of politeness, but it’s a high risk of infection, especially in times of cold waves. To protect yourself and those around you, eye contact and a nice smile is worth more than a handshake.

4. Do not touch your face

Several times a day we touch our face with our fingers and usually do not even notice it. But unfortunately, doing so risks infection every time. Countless amounts of pathogens attach themselves to our hands, which is why they also carry a particular risk of infection.

The mucous membranes in our face, i.e. eyes, nose and mouth, are easy targets for cold viruses, as they are optimal entry points into the body.

5. Wash your hands properly

Even as a toddler, we learned that proper hand washing is important. And it’s best to do it frequently and thoroughly: when you get home, before you touch food, after you’ve had contact with sick people.

But simply rinsing under water is not enough. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, using a suitable soap. When washing, also take off your rings, because pathogens also settle there.

In situations where hand washing is not possible, you can also clean your hands with disinfectant.

Fresh air against pathogens

6. Regular airing

Although the cold air can be a pain in the winter, regular shock ventilation is important in the fight against the common cold. Bacteria and viruses, which can easily accumulate in stagnant warm air, are carried out by the draught.

In addition, regular airing ensures improved humidity in your home. A humidity of 25 to 55 percent is recommended, which cannot be maintained by the dry heating air. Consequently, the mucous membranes dry out, so that viruses can penetrate more easily. Humidifiers can also help, but they are no substitute for ventilation.

It is best to open your windows three to four times a day for 10 minutes. In addition, during the cold months you should turn down the heating thermostat during ventilation.

7. Exercise in nature

However, regular airing does not replace exercise in the fresh air.

Long walks in nature are very important to prevent diseases and to stay fit. If walking is not your thing, you can also try exercising in the fresh air.

The cold stimulates your blood circulation and stimulates your body’s defenses. It is only important that you dress warmly and according to the weather.

8. Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can be combined with a relaxing walk in nature and improve the oxygen supply. Consequently, your stress level will be lowered and your immune system will be less stressed and strengthened at the same time.

Prevention through food

9. Eat sour milk products

The immune system is influenced up to 80 percent by the intestinal flora of the person. Consequently, it is important to maintain the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

Sour milk products such as yogurt, buttermilk and kefir contain special bacterial cultures that are easily absorbed by the body and can displace unwanted bacteria from the intestines.

10. Onions

Onions also activate the intestinal flora. Sounds strange, but it is. They contain so-called fructans, which support the immune system and fight flu viruses.

If the cold has already spread, onion juice can also counteract the infection.

11. Drink tea

Tea not only has a warming effect and helps recovery, but can also be preventive.

A good example is green tea. It is rich in antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of infection by slowing down or even preventing oxidation.

12. Healthy nutrition

A healthy diet is the be-all and end-all. The fresher and more balanced your diet, the better you will be able to avoid a cold.

Fatty and highly processed foods not only make you fat in the long run, but also lead to deficiencies in the body, especially in the immune system. Accordingly, you should pay attention to a good balance and include enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Finally, they receive valuable vitamins and minerals that support the immune system.

Self Care

13. Healthy sleep

Sufficient sleep and a healthy rhythm are important for the immune system.

Prolonged lack of sleep reduces the production of cytokines. However, these proteins play a decisive role in the immune system and in inflammatory processes. So try not to go to bed too late and get eight hours of sleep a night.

14. Alternating showers

Alternating showers also exercises the immune system. Due to the temperature differences, the body gets going and the blood circulation as well as the metabolism are stimulated.

Warm water causes blood vessels to dilate, while cold water causes them to contract. With a sustained temperature change, the vessel walls are trained and the body is better supplied with blood. Consequently, more nutrients and oxygen reach the immune cells.

When taking alternating showers, you should always make sure that you start with warm water and end with cold water.

15. Warm foot bath

A warm foot bath is not only good for cold feet, but can also prevent a cold. The increase in temperature improves blood circulation in the body and fights and destroys pathogens more quickly.

Caution: If you have a fever, do not take a warm footbath, however, so as not to put further strain on your circulation.

16. Sauna

As with the previous points, the temperature also plays a decisive role here. During a sauna session, our body temperature increases significantly by one to three degrees Celsius. The skin surface can become even up to ten degrees warmer. The body is temporarily in a fever-like state, attacking bacteria and pathogens.

Similar to the alternating shower, the blood circulation is stimulated by the heat stimulus and the cardiovascular system is also strengthened.

17. Steam bath inhalation

As a last tip we would like to give you the steam bath inhalation on your way. As mentioned above, dry mucous membranes are more susceptible to pathogens.

Besides the right humidity, steam bath inhalations can also prevent a cold. All you need is a bowl of hot water and a towel to put over your head. Now hold your face as close as possible to the vessel, but far enough away that you don’t get burned. Now breathe deeply in and out the water vapor for 10 minutes.

Depending on your preference, you can add home remedies such as chamomile, sage or eucalyptus to it.

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