If you want to avoid getting sick this winter, you need to take care of your body. That means, at the very least, getting enough sleep, so your body is rested, eating a diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables to give you vitamins and minerals, and exercising to keep strong.
Right now, we're going to talk about a few extra little tips to give you a boost.
1. Breath Warm & Hydrated Air For Breathing
You know what that feels like when you get a runny nose or even stuffed up. The protective mucus layer can feel slimy, but it is a wonderful defense tool your body has. It catches most viruses and bacteria before they can make life miserable for you.
To keep this layer of mucus healthy, breathing warm moist air is the key. But, that can be really hard in the wintertime. One of the benefits of wearing a mask is that it helps maintains that warm and moist environment right in front of your noses.
But, that's also part of the problem. In warm moist air, viruses and bacteria breed like crazy. One of the functions of this mucus production is to flush out all these bacteria and viruses that got into your nose. But, if you're wearing a mask, you're just rebreathing the viruses and bacteria along with the warm moist air.
So, how do we get warm moist air without wearing a mask? Let me tell you:
Humidity is your friend. In most homes, especially in the winter, the average humidity is about 30%, but your nose likes it closer to 60%. A small humidifier can do wonders. Even people who keep a lot of plants in their house find they have higher humidity.
Another method of moisturizing your sinuses is drinking hot tea. As the vapors waft off your tea,
breathe in. The steam will help open up your sinuses and increase mucus production. And although you may be blowing your nose shortly after, just think of all of the nasty stuff you're getting rid of.
2. Nasal Washes & Clearing Out Germs
Another way you can clear out the germs from your nose is by using a nasal wash. We talked before about how the nasal wash (link to blog) can help promote healthy mucus formation, wash out bacteria and viruses, and keep the skin and passageways in your nose healthy and hydrated.
Daily use of a nasal wash improves the health and environment within your nose and sinuses. It can help reduce sinus infections and even reduce the chances of catching or spreading any illness you do get.
3. Support Your Immune System
Your immune system is an active and dynamic system with a lot of moving parts. There are a few things you could do to keep your immune system as healthy and active as possible, especially when you know you've been exposed to an illness: Sugar Weakens Your Immune System But These Three Things Boost Immunity
Zinc is a powerful tool that helps keep us healthy both in body and mind. Our immune system uses a lot of zinc, and we should be able to get enough through our food. But, when you're feeling sick, your immune system can use a lot more. Thoughtful supplementation helps your body fight off cold and flu.
This most widespread antioxidant is one of the few things well-documented and undeniably a way to help get over a cold faster, support our overall health, and keep our immune system healthy. But, most people get less than 500 mg of vitamin C per day! You can get four to five times that much when you are sick to help reduce the time you're suffering from the common cold by 1 to 3 days.
Scientists aren't 100% sure how echinacea works, but when you're feeling sick, this is something that can truly help give you a boost. While you can take zinc and vitamin C every day, taking echinacea every day can overstimulate your immune system and eventually cause a crash. So, the only time you should be using echinacea is when you are sick.
At Sniffle's End
When you start looking into taking care of your nose and sinuses, simple steps work the best.
Keep your home higher in humidity so you can breathe easier.
Use a nasal wash, so you can help flush out bacteria and germs while keeping the tissues of your inner nose healthy and soft.
And finally, take care of your body. Eating good foods will provide a lot of vitamins and minerals, and you can choose to supplement with things like zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea.
If you get a lot of colds throughout the year, we recommend talking to a professional to see if there's something else going on. Many health problems can manifest as a weakened immune system that lets you get sick more often. Catching this now can help save you a lot of headaches in the future.