Friday, 22 November 2013

How to Avoid Catching a Cold this Winter

 
There are aspects of the winter time that I love, like being snug indoors while its snowing outside and watching Christmas films but there are things that I hate too like trying to drive in the snow, the ground when its slushy and getting a cold.

I'm someone who ALWAYS gets the dreaded cold regardless of whether its minus 4 outside or 23 degrees; like many people my age, I burn the candle at both ends and it always comes around to burn me at some point.  The last time I was really ill with flu was at the beginning of year after picking it up from someone I was working with.  I couldn't get out of bed and my head felt like it was going to fall off.  Ever since then, I promised myself that I was going to do everything I could to stop myself from getting ill again and touch wood, I haven't done too badly over the last 11 months (watch this space, I bet I'll be tweeting about a sore throat next week!).

I'm sure many of you will be in the same boat as I am so I thought I'd share with you some of my tips on how to avoid getting a cold and staying fit and well this winter.
 

Cuticura Anti Bacterial Hand Wipes* and Hand Gel in Passion Flower and Mango*
Sanitise your Workspace
 
My first tip is to keep your workspace clean.  I've found that if you work in an office, and particularly if you share desks, then your chances of catching a cold increase because if someone comes into an office with a cold and they're coughing and sneezing into their hands then touching their keyboard, leaving germs all over, its easy for them to spread.  Research has shown that we touch common objects an average of 3.3 times per hour and touch our faces up to 3.6 times.  When we're doing this we're transferring germs that can cause bacteria to spread and lead to skin irritations, bacterial and viral infections as well as colds.

Air conditioning also seems to be another germ spreader too.  When I've worked in offices, I've found that if one person has a cold, everyone gets it and whether its scientific or not, the germs seem to spread like wild fire, as though they've popped up into the air conditioning vents and dispersed across the work floor.
 
There's a couple of ways to help to protect yourself and that's by using antibacterial products.  I take a bottle of the Cuticura Anti Bacterial Hand Gel with me to work to sanitise my hands when I get there, after going to the toilet, before lunch and after breaks, etc.  Some work places have antibacterial hand gel stations nowadays but I like to carry this one with me because it is Passion Flower and Mango scented so it makes your hands lightly scented which is lovely.  The hand gel sinks into the skin quickly and is touch dry almost immediately.  It kills 99.9% of bacteria and provides up to 8 hours of protection, as do the Cuticura Anti Bacterial Hand Wipes that are great for wiping down the keyboard and mouse as well as for popping in your bag when you're out and about and in your beach bag if you're travelling.

I suffer badly with skin problems on my hands and find that a lot of products sting or burn my hands but these don't.  You can buy them from Superdrug or Boots.
 
Bobble
Stay Hydrated

My second tip is to drink plenty of water every day.  Staying adequately hydrated really helps to keep your body ticking over, flushes out toxins and stops you from being susceptible to getting sore throats.  If you feel a cold coming on, I'd suggest to add Berocca Orange (buy here) to your water as a shot of Vitamin B and C for energy and if you have a sore throat then gargling with salt in warm water is always an option as it helps to reduce inflammation and clears mucous and irritations.

One thing that I bought to help me to drink more water is a Bobble (buy here) which is basically a water bottle that you can refill from the tap and it will filter the water for you as you drink it.  I bought this because buying bottled water at work, university and when I'm out an about can soon add up to quite a lot of money that I'd rather spend on other things so with the Bobble I can just fill my water up from the tap and not worry about any nasties in it.  Each filter equates to around 300 bottles of water and they last about 2 months before you have to change them so they really are a more cost effective option that buying bottled water.  It's also easy to carry around with me too because I'll go to work with it empty then fill it up when I get there so it isn't heavy in my bag.


Superdrug Immune Chewable Vitamin C and Bassets On The Go Vitamins
Taking Vitamins
 
Another thing that I have been doing is taking multi vitamins.  I'm terrible at taking vitamins but I've found that taking chewable ones is much easier than having to faff on getting a drink so swallow them, particularly if you're running out of the door.  I take mine first thing on a morning.
 
The ones I'm currently taking are the chewable Bassets On The Go Vitamins that I got in Poundland and the Immune Chewable Vitamin C tablets from Superdrug.  I've never been one for taking tablets but I've been taking these daily for the past 10 months solid and I've really noticed a difference in my immune system.
 
Cuticura Anti Bacterial Hand Washes*
Wash your hands
  My next tip sounds a little obvious but its amazing how many people don't do this properly and that's washing their hands.  1 in 10 Brits simply splash and dash after going to the toilet and 1 in 5 don't wash their hands at all, which quietly honestly is disgusting!

A recent study found that a quarter of Brits only wash their hands between three to five times a day, which is far less than the recommended eight to ten times.  This goes to show that our hands are literally breeding grounds for germs.

We can easily combat it though by washing our hands properly and using anti bacterial hand wash like the ones from Cuticura.  I have been using the Ginger and Manuka Honey, the Black Pepper and Pomegranate and the Lime and Bamboo (my fave!) fragrances around my home in both bathrooms and in the kitchen and I feel much more safe in the knowledge that I'm doing as much as I can to stop spreading germs.  The hand wash provides my hands with up to 3 hours of protection against spreading germs and viruses which ultimately can help you to avoid catching a cold.

All of the bottles of hand wash can be bought from Sainsburys and Superdrug.

If you want further proof of how quickly germs can spread in the home, check out the Cuticura 'Journey of the Germ' contamination experiment that was featured on Sky News Sunrise and ITV News yesterday.

You can watch the Journey of the Germ video here:
 


Wrap up Warm and Stay Well Rested

My final way to avoid catching a cold this winter is quite simply to wrap up warm.  Hats, scarves, gloves, ear muffs, coat the lot.  I used to come out of the gym with wet hair, wearing thin clothes and I'd always catch a cold.  Now I always make sure my hair is bone dry and that I'm wrapped up.  I like to make sure I've had lots of sleep too to ensure that I'm not run down- being well rested is a great defence against getting colds.

What are your top tips for avoiding catching a cold?
 
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