How to Protect Yourself Against Cold and Flu this Winter

Dr. Sam Coupe
Colds & Flus

June 06, 2016




I am a strong believer in the body’s ability to defend itself against germs. I believe that when I get sick it has more to do with my current state of health vs the germs I come into contact with.

Here are some tips to help build your defences this winter.

Ensure you are getting enough good quality sleep.

Sleep regulates the release of the hormone cortisol and melatonin, which stimulates cells that boost the immune system. A well-tuned immune system is crucial for defending against the cold virus. Getting at least seven hours of shut-eye is the easiest way to steer clear of the common cold. In fact, a recent study indicates that people who fall short are nearly three times as likely to catch a cold. If you have trouble sleeping make sure you come to one of our Sit, Sleep, Stand classes. Getting your pillow set up at the right height for your body’s neutral is one of the best ways to help your body switch off.

Continue Exercising

Research has shown that moderate exercise of 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week increases immune function. So hopefully this knowledge can motivate us on the chilly mornings and nights to get into the gym or out for a run or cycle.

Avoid/Minimise Sugar

This includes refined carbohydrates like white breads, white rice and alcohol.

Consuming too much sugar suppresses the function of T-cells (infection-fighting white blood cells), for up to 5 hours after ingestion.

Take Vitamin D

According to a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people with low vitamin D are more susceptible to catching colds. We get Vit D from sunshine and most office workers in Melbourne in winter are not getting their fair share, so it may be necessary to take a supplement. It’s important to know that your average multivitamins contains 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which falls within the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 200 to 600 IU. However, experts now suggest taking a 1,000- 4000IU supplement per day if you are deficient. Vit D is most readily absorbed in liquid form.

In summary, I know it sounds crazy but it turns out Sunshine, a good diet, exercise and getting enough sleep are important element to good health.

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