Surprising Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu

Doctors and health experts share their lesser-known tips for staying healthy through winter

Colder weather is setting in and with the change of seasons you might also notice more people coughing, sneezing and calling in sick. It’s a harsh reality that these chilly months are strongly associated with the cold and flu.

In fact, even the most diligent hand-washers and surface sanitizers among us could easily find themselves home sick this winter. As it turns out, your likelihood of getting sick depends more on the state of your health than on how often you pull out the hand sanitizer—but that’s not to say you shouldn’t also be diligent about your environment. When it comes to preventing illness, the best strategy is a holistic effort.

If your current plan to stay healthy this winter begins and ends at drinking extra orange juice, you might want to rethink that strategy. From getting outside to eating right, there a lot of surprising things you can do to minimize your chances of coming down with the cold or flu. Doctors and health experts shared their lesser-known tips for staying healthy this winter.

Soak Up Sun

“We all think of vitamin C as the immune booster, but recent research has shown that vitamin D greatly effects the immune system,” said Dr. Scott M. Schreiber, a chiropractic physician, certified nutrition specialist and Delaware’s only board certified rehabilitation specialist. “[Vitamin D] has been shown to elevate that activity of immune cells.” Meanwhile, he said, a deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to the occurrence of autoimmune diseases.”

Get Dirty

“Exposing yourself to dirt (and microorganisms) can have a long-lasting impact on your immune system,” Schreiber said. “As a society, we fear getting dirty, when in fact, [studies have shown] it is extremely beneficial.” Believe it or not, he added, those mud runs are good for you.

9 Other Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu

More Reading:
The Health Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep
Foods that Boost Your Immune System
Why Your Digestive Health is More Important Than You Think

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