Dr. Zoe Williams Shares 7 Tips to Boost Immunity and Avoid Colds

Even as we approach spring, we may remain susceptible to winter illnesses such as colds and flu. Colder air weakens our resistance to viruses, and more time spent together inside encourages the spread of infection. While there are medications available to help you recover from such illnesses, there are also simple steps you can take to stay healthy.

ITV’s resident physician, Dr. Zoe Williams, has teamed up with nasal spray brand Stérimar to share with her family the best ways to boost your immune system and avoid colds and flu.

get enough sleep

She said: “It is extremely important to get enough sleep (seven or more hours a night), especially if you have been exposed to germs or a virus.

“When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune cells decline, making you more susceptible to disease.

“To improve your sleep, try sleeping in a completely dark room, using a sleep mask, or going to bed at the same time every night.

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“Reducing the time before bed can also help, as the blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm.”

Eat the rainbow

“The benefits of a healthy diet are far-reaching and include supporting your immune system,” said Dr. Williams.

“Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors ensures that the body is saturated with essential nutrients.

“Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are excellent sources of vitamins that have been shown to play an important role in immune regulation.

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“Getting enough vitamin D from fruits like oranges or taking supplements can also help prevent colds.”

Follow the rules of nasal hygiene

She explained: “It’s all good to try to support your immune system to help fight infection, but it’s just as important, if not more important, to stop germs from entering your body in the first place.

“The nose is one of our immune system’s first lines of defense, and good nasal hygiene can help keep your sinuses clear, making you less vulnerable to infections and viruses.”

Try to keep your exercise levels high

“While exercise may be the last thing you want to do, especially when you feel a cold coming on; A simple 30-45 minute walk can help support your immune system,” she recommended.

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“Exercise mobilizes immune cells to help your body fight any germs, making you feel better.”

Wash your hands often

Dr. Williams said: “It seems obvious, but washing your hands before doing any activity that brings your hands into contact with your eyes or mouth is one of the most important steps to avoid catching a cold.

“Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds to stop transmission.

“You can also try trimming your nails, as they can become a breeding ground for germs. Remember to also dry your hands after washing; wet hands can promote the spread of bacteria.”

Reduce stress

“While this is often easier said than done, stress reduction is important,” she said.

“Daily stress can overwhelm your immune system, draining your ability to stay healthy, and this imbalance makes you more susceptible to viruses, including the common cold. You can try meditation, exercise or journaling or anything to help you relax.”

Stay Hydrated

Dr. Williams added: “The daily recommended amount of water (about six to eight glasses a day) can help fight disease in several ways.

“Keeping hydrated helps keep the mucous membranes in your nasal passages moist so they can trap viral invaders before they enter your body. Drinking water also enriches the blood with oxygen, which helps to ensure that there is enough oxygen in all body systems so that they can function at optimal levels, remove toxins and speed up recovery.”

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