Cold and flu season may be an inconvenient, uncomfortable part of winter, but there are things you can do to help defend yourself against illness.
Practicing a healthy lifestyle year-round is one of the best ways to protect yourself during cold and flu season, which lasts from about November to April in Canada. While living a healthy lifestyle is important, following these other simple tips can help you stay healthy not just during cold and flu season, but year round.
Ensure Proper Hand Washing
One of the most important tools when it comes to defending against illness of any kind is proper hand washing. Washing your hands with simple soap and water is enough to keep cold and flu causing germs at bay, and is especially important before eating or touching your face.
Scrub for about 20 seconds — and don’t forget to get between the fingers, around the nails, and the backs of the hands. If you’re looking for something more exciting than “Happy Birthday” to sing yourself while scrubbing away, check out what celebrities including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Annie Murphy, and Miley Cyrus are singing while washing their hands.
Along with proper hand washing, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, not touching your face, staying home when you’re sick, and disinfecting high-contact surfaces regularly can help provide protection against catching a cold or flu.
Good nutrition is key for supporting your immune system to fight off the many cold viruses that typically make their way around this time of year. Vitamin C is one such nutrient that studies have shown can help to reduce the duration and the severity of the common cold for both adults and children alike.
You can find vitamin C in foods such as citrus, strawberries, and bell peppers, as well as supplements like our Nurture by Metagenics Vitamin C buffered tablets, and our Nurture by Metagencis Multi-Vitamin with Phytonutrients.
Zinc is a powerful mineral when it comes to fighting the common cold. Research has found that those who begin supplementing with zinc within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms saw a decrease of approximately 33% in the duration of their cold. Other research shows that those who are zinc deficient have a harder time fighting off certain strains of influenza virus.
It’s recommended that men over the age of 19 get 11 mg of zinc daily, while women only need 8 mg daily. Children need anywhere from 2-9 mg of zinc daily, depending on their age and sex.
You can find zinc in foods such as oysters, beef, nuts, seeds, and legumes, as well as supplements like our Nurture by Metagencis Multi-Vitamin with Phytonutrients, which contains 5 mg of zinc citrate per serving.
A multivitamin is often used as a tool to boost the immune system by ensuring the body has all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs. It offers a convenient, inexpensive way to ensure you’re getting multiple vitamins and minerals such as C, D, E, and zinc, which research shows can lessen your chances of catching a cold or influenza, as well as improve symptoms should you fall ill.
Our Nurture by Metagencis Multi-Vitamin with Phytonutrients features a blend of highly concentrated full-spectrum phytonutrients enhanced with selective bioactive plant compounds, along with 20+ essential vitamins and minerals for multidimensional health support.
Supplements like probiotics can help support a healthy immune system. Several clinical trials have shown that supplementing with probiotics provides protective effects against influenza infection. When it comes to the common cold, taking probiotics regularly appears to lower your chances of catching a cold, and can even reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten how long a cold lasts if you start taking it at the first sign of symptoms.
Nurture by Metagenics offers several different probiotic formulas to help with a variety of health concerns during cold and flu season.
Our Acute Probiotic helps support intestinal health and avoid the risk of unpleasant antibiotic associated diarrhea. It’s shelf stable, meaning you don’t have to worry about finding room for it in the fridge. Each capsule contains 9.5 billion CFUs in a non-GMO, gluten-free formula.
Our Daily Probiotic is perfect for those looking to support their GI health, as it can help contribute to healthy gut flora. Each capsule of our expertly developed, dairy-free formula contains 15 billion live CFUs — guaranteed!
And for little ones, we offer a Kids Probiotic in a delicious, naturally grape-flavoured chewable tablet. Each tablet contains 5 billion live CFUs that help to temporarily modify gut flora, and reduce the duration and symptoms of the common cold.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that everyone 6 months and older who can get a flu vaccination get one, as an important way to protect against the flu.
While colds might not seem serious with their annoying symptoms, the flu can lead to serious complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Your family doctor or pharmacist can administer the flu shot or intranasal spray.