Sick Child


It’s officially cold and flu season – WELCOME! This time of year, everywhere you look, someone is sniffling, sneezing, blowing their nose, or coughing up a storm. To help prevent the common cold and boost your immune system, there are a few tips and tricks to try at home.

Here are my all-time favourite tricks to avoid the cold this year!

1. Spice up Your Diet
This is the time of year to kick your cooking up a notch! Add lots of garlic, ginger, and onion to your foods – raw is best for maximizing the effects. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try upping the spice level in your food with cayenne pepper (gradually!). Spices and warming foods like ginger, garlic, and onions are high in antioxidants and also help your immune system work harder. Plus, they’re yummy!

2. Focus on Nutrient Dense Foods
The best immune-boosting foods are veggies and fruits that are high in antioxidants. Veggies like the dark-green leafs (think kale, spinach, chard, etc) and the brassica family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower) are jam-packed with nutrients that help protect you from getting sick. Berries, pomegranates, and apples are also high in antioxidants to help boost your energy. Avoid processed and refined foods that dampen your immune system and stick to these heavy hitters instead!

3. Keep Active
Exercising regularly helps to enhance overall immune function, not to mention the improved mood, energy, and metabolism! With winter blues around the corner, an active lifestyle is your best protection for both mental and physical ailments. Do it. Do it now!

4. Get Enough Sleep
It may sound simple, but people often underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When you sleep, your body rejuvenates in a way that almost nothing else can match. Most people should be sleeping at least 7 hours per night, and should feel refreshed and energized on waking. If you’re having trouble sleeping, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on easy ways to get rested.

5. Wash Your Hands
This should be a standing rule in your life no matter what season it is, but especially in the fall and winter. Wash your hands before and after eating, after shaking hands with someone, after using the bathroom, after being in a public place, and before being in close contact with another person (especially kids and the elderly). This simple act can HUGELY impact your contact with germs, protect you from getting sick, and prevent you from passing a virus around. When in doubt, wash ‘em!

6. Stay Away From People Who Are Sick
Especially in the beginning stages of an illness, a sick person can be contagious and readily pass you their virus. If you notice someone is feeling under the weather, try to keep your distance as much as possible. This means avoiding close proximity to them and sharing food/drinks. You’ll be doing yourself a favour!

If you do end up with that pesky cold anyway, don’t fret! It’s actually a good thing to get sick 1-2 times per year. Think of it like training for your immune system – if your body is able to heal itself from the minor cold, it is much more likely to protect you from more serious illnesses.

Stay tuned for a blog post on top home remedies to treat a cold!

- Dr. Lewis