Avoiding the discomfort and distress, not to mention the goop, that come with coughs and colds, is surely a winter priority. Colds and coughs are as much part of winter life as dark nights and icy roads. To many they are inevitable. It is unlikely that any one measure will prevent a cold developing. According to nhs.uk, we are all carrying the common cold virus but getting cold allows the symptoms to develop fully. With our ‘5 ways to keep a cold at bay’ you can take a sensible approach to reduce your risk.
Here are our 5 top-tips for cold control...
1. Keep warm
Wrapping up well and keeping warm is straight forward; Put on a good coat, wear scarves, gloves and hats and make sure your footwear is warm. Hot showers and baths are great for maintaining a good degree of warmth in your system and will help you relax. Snuggling up with a hot water bottle, a pet or favourite human whilst watching television is one of the loveliest ways to keep warm and prevent a cold developing.
2. Warm up from the inside, too
As always, what you put into your body is as important as what goes on the outside. Hot food and drink is crucial to keeping your body’s natural thermostat ticking over properly. Health crazes promote salad and cold fruit but this is a no-no in winter. In Chinese medical terms these foods prevent your body from clearing 'Damp', which is one of the primary causes of lingering colds. Keep all your food warm, eat nourishing soups and drink black, or Pu’erh teas instead of green. Winter and Christmas flavours are perfect warming aids so fill up on the warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg and star anise. To make a lovely chai with black tea & spices see Katherine’s Winter Warmer. Keep to a balanced, nourishing and warm diet.
3. Don't skimp on sleep
There’s a lot to do this time of year, especially in the run up to Christmas and it’s all too easy to get worn out before the fun starts. Of course, having fun can be tiring too and when you’re tired your immune system struggles to do its job, which is keeping all the lurgies in check. Sleep and rest are the first thing to suffer when we are busy so try to be prepared. If you know you are going to have a late night go to bed earlier or sleep in a bit later than normal. If you’ve had a disturbed or sleepless night having an afternoon nap or early night can help to balance the deficit. Sometimes sleep feels like a treat but it is an essential so don’t skimp if you want to keep cold free.
4. Keep dry
Crisp air and long low light with soft edged shadows stretching among the puddles and paths is wonderful, so a bracing winter walk is always very tempting. Walking through mud and puddles may be unavoidable at times and wet feet are a party for the cold. Just like getting cold, getting wet will allow the cold symptoms to develop. Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre conducted a study in which incidences of the common cold were compared between people who chilled their feet in cold water for twenty minutes and people who didn’t. The study showed that those whose feet were chilled were twice as likely to develop a cold than those whose feet remained toasty. Simple conclusion: try not to get wet and dry off thoroughly if you do.
“Don’t come too close, I’ve got a cold!” This dramatic refrain is as plentiful at Christmas as “Silent Night” or “Ding Dong Merrily on High”. It is the all too common chorus of winter and is swiftly followed by a bout of coughing or sneezing fit to shake the stars from the sky and the phrase “Don’t worry I’m not contagious”. By the time this has taken place a layer of cold virus has been spread across the area of the sneeze or cough. Most people use their hands to block sneezes and coughs and this is where transmission to door handles, taps, and items that are passed between two people will occur. A good precaution is to wash your hands regularly or apply an anti-bacterial gel. It’s hard to avoid the cold virus but keeping hands clean and not touching eyes, nose and mouth will reduce your chances of developing a full cold.
To find out more about teas and herbals for colds visit our teablog at coriniumeastern teas.co.uk