Look Good Stay fit and healthy until the end of cold and flu season

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How to win the war on colds and flu

It might be hotting up today, but the temperatures here in Sydney are set to plummet once again tomorrow and there’s still a few weeks to go until the dreaded cold and flu season is officially over. If you’ve managed to avoid the common cold so far, it’s probably best to stay alert, as the National Prescribing Service (NPS) suggests adults battle between two and four bouts of the common cold each year, caused by more than 200 different viruses. Worse still, the Influenza Specialist Group blames flu for 3,500 deaths each year, and 18,000 hospitalisations.

So, how can you stay fit and healthy for the rest of winter and, perhaps more importantly, how can you put a stop to the spread of colds and flu in the office environment?

Support your immune system

According to popular nutritionist, Patrick Holford, viruses such as those that cause the common cold cannot wreak havoc on your body if you have sufficient vitamin A, calcium and magnesium keeping your cell membranes strong. The trouble is, as the external temperature plummets during winter, the body becomes less able to use its supply of vitamin A.

‘This starts a vicious circle with vitamin A becoming more and more in demand. This is probably one of the reasons why zinc is helpful when you’ve got a cold because it allows vitamin A, stored in the liver, to be used,’ Holford writes in Winning The Cold War.

The key, therefore, is to prepare your body for cold and flu season by stocking up your reserves of nutrients to keep your immune system at the ready. Holford recommends a multivitamin containing at least 7,500 iu of vitamin A and 1,000 mg of vitamin C, as well as a B complex. ‘Your multimineral should contain ten times more zinc than copper and at least half as much magnesium as calcium,’ he adds.

Curb your addictions

Statistics suggest that heavy smokers suffer more severe colds, more frequently, than non-smokers. Similarly, the heavy consumption of alcohol is known to suppress the immune system in a number of ways, leading regular drinkers to suffer more initial infections and secondary complications than non-drinkers. During cold and flu season, therefore, it’s more important than usual to say no to cigarettes and alcohol.

Stop the spread

Prevention is always better than cure; however, there’s no doubt at least one of your colleagues will succumb to the common cold this winter.

According to the NPS, common colds are usually caught from other people. No matter how healthy you keep your own body, colds can be passed on through touching hands or objects or by breathing in droplets from other people’s sneezes or coughs.

To help prevent the spread of colds, therefore, the NPS advise you cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing; keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth; use paper tissues when blowing your nose – and make sure you bin them once they’ve been used; wash your hands with soap; and avoid sharing cups, glasses and cutlery.

Have you fallen victim to colds and flu this season? What are your top tips for avoiding the common cold and staying fit and healthy?

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About the Author

Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to lizzy@singlefile.com.au.

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