Baby It's Cold Outside

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Preventing Winter Illnesses

Winter is a joyous time filled with family traditions, time off from school, and warm sweaters. However, winter is also the season for colds, cases of flu, and other respiratory illnesses. Keep yourself and your children healthy and happy this winter with a few simple actions.

Supercharge Your Diet

There are many natural foods on the market that can strengthen your immune system and prepare your body to defend itself from unwanted bacteria. Each of these foods does different things to protect your body, so try to incorporate as many as possible into your diet.

  • Green Tea. A hot cup of tea does more than warm you up in the cold winter months! Green tea contains a flavonoid called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which acts as an indirect antioxidant and interferes with disease-causing bacteria.
  • Honey. People have used honey for hundreds of years for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Manuka honey, in particular, decreases the number of the bacteria that cause strep throat. Add some honey to your cup of green tea to sweeten the deal!
  • Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt with live cultures contains probiotics that boost your immune system. According to a study published in 2001, children who consumed foods containing the Lactobacillus probiotic (which is present in greek yogurt) were less likely to develop a respiratory infection or have less severe symptoms than children who did not consume any Lactobacillus.

Wash Your Digits

Washing your hands before eating or touching your face can help prevent the spread of bacteria. Learn the proper way to wash your hands, and teach your child to do a thorough job every time they head to the sink. There are bacteria on everything you touch, so washing frequently is a necessity.

Get a Vaccination

The most effective way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine. Every year, the vaccine changes to protect against the most prevalent form of the influenza virus for the season, so it’s essential to receive a flu vaccine annually. Due to the tailored nature of the flu shot, it’s possible to come down with a different variation of the flu; however, the vaccination can decrease the severity of symptoms for most varieties of the flu. If you’re concerned about the safety of vaccines, read about vaccine facts and fictions and how vaccines work to prevent illness.

If you or your children haven’t yet received a vaccination, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician or pediatrician today. At the first sign of illness, visit your doctor for testing and treatment before you develop more severe symptoms. With these simple steps and guidance from your trusted healthcare provider, you can take action to stay healthy all winter long.

 

Sources:
NHS | 10 winter illnesses
MSN Lifestyle | The 12 pains of Christmas: common winter illnesses treated
Today | 26 ways to avoid getting sick this winter
NCBI | Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity
NCBI | Tea catechins and polyphenols: health effects, metabolism, and antioxidant functions.
NCBI | Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial.
NCBI | Manuka honey inhibits the development of Streptococcus pyogenes biofilms and causes reduced expression of two fibronectin binding proteins.
Time | 10 Foods Filled With Probiotics