As the cooler weather rolls in, our immune systems may become more susceptible to developing an illness. Here are some basic preventative techniques one can take to minimize the chances of catching a cold/the flu:
1) Wash hands before eating meals and after going to the washroom to kill surface germs.
2) Avoid touching mouth, nose, eyes, and all other facial features to prevent the transmission of germs through mucous membranes. Mucous membranes provide a gateway for microbes to enter and infect the body.
3) Cover mouth with your arm when coughing: this minimizes the likelihood of airborne transmission of the bacteria/virus.
4) Take Vitamin C regularly to help boost the immune system.
5) Drink plenty of fluids - fluids help flush the system out and take less energy to metabolize than solids. The body is able to conserve more energy to fight off the infection when given a fluid-based diet.
6) Minimize the stress in your life. Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone" and when it is being produced long-term it depletes the immune system.
7) Get enough sleep - aim for 8 hours per night. There is nothing more restoring than a good night's sleep! The body conserves energy during sleep and this energy can be used to fight off infections and help repair the body from everyday life influences.
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.