6 tips to AVOID getting ill during Ireland's coldest week

5th Feb 18 | Lifestyle

As the weather gets chillier, here's how to keep the flu virus at bay!

Girl with handkerchief has the flu and running nose winter

Pull out an extra blanket and pop on the kettle, because Ireland is set to endure one of it's coldest weeks of the winter so far.

Most of us are likely to see snow over the coming days, with temperatures expected to plummet. If you want to avoid getting sick over the next few days (and consequently looking and feeling like an office zombie) you’ll need to get ahead of the game by taking a few preventative measures to safeguard your health during the icy nights.

Here are a few easy ways to minimise your risk of coughs and sniffles.

1. Try garlic

Starting your day with raw garlic might not sound like the most palatable of breakfasts, but a clove a day could keep flu at bay. This is because raw garlic contains compounds that help the immune system to fight common cold germs. When crushed or chopped, this potent plant causes a chemical reaction that releases allicin – a powerful antibacterial that’s been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells when they encounter viruses, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu.

2. Get a good night’s sleep


Laku noc #LaLaFamily 😴😴 @miss_snicka

A post shared by Lana Jurcevic (@lana_jurcevic) on Feb 4, 2018 at 12:55pm PST

While it’s easy to fall into the ‘just one more episode’ trap on Netflix, getting a solid eight hours sleep could be your best bet of keeping a cold at arm’s length. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which help to fight infection and inflammation. Just a few late nights can disrupt the protective nature of your immune system. That’s why it’s a good idea to switch off the TV and get under the duvet earlier when the weather is cold.

3. Eat the rainbow


YUUUUM 😋 #bhuddabowl #veggies #colour #dinner #nourishyourbody #healthy

A post shared by •Natalie Kane• (@nataliekanedance) on Oct 22, 2015 at 12:06am PDT

Avoiding a nasty cold could be as easy as avoiding takeaways and creating healthy, homemade meals instead. A fruit and vegetable-rich diet can support your immune system over the winter months, so shop for colourful foods rich in vitamins A and C, such as lemons, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, beetroots, carrots and apricots.

4. Wash your hands regularly

We all know that we should give our hands a thorough scrub after using the bathroom, but it’s also wise to carry a bottle of antibacterial gel, so you can top up on-the-go during flu season. Why? Because germs can live on inanimate objects like door handles and light switches for hours, meaning you can easily expose yourself by going about your normal daily routine.

5. Have a warm bath to de-stress

Studies have shown that stress can exacerbate the cold virus, so If you’re feeling frazzled after long day at the office, try to practise some self-care routines, like running a hot bath and switching your phone onto flight mode. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh quizzed 276 healthy volunteers about their stress levels, and found that those who had reported chronic stress were more than twice as likely to become ill when exposed to the cold virus. As well as its de-stressing properties, a bubble bath has the added benefit of adjusting your body temperature, so you’re nice and sleepy by the time you hit the hay.

6. Drink plenty of water

Hydrating isn’t just good for your skin; drinking water flushes out your system and helps keep your immune system strong. Roughly 60% of the body is made of water, so drinking enough H2O maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps to regulate a healthy body temperature. As a guide, a healthy adult needs around 1.5 litres of water each day.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely protect yourself from winter colds, but with the temperatures dropping, these handy tips will put you in a stronger position to fight against sniffle season.

© Press Association 2018