Staying healthy this cold and flu season. What works and what doesn’t?

The one thing that’s remained constant since the festive season is the coughing and sneezing that you hear from your colleagues, friends and family. With cold and flu season at its’ peak, the question on many peoples’ minds is: “How long before I’m next?”

Viral infections spike in unstable UAE weather.

So, it’s February again. The lights and decorations have been stored away, the New Year’s celebrations are well over and you’re back from your vacation. The one thing that’s remained constant since the festive season is the coughing and sneezing that you hear from your colleagues, friends and family. With cold and flu season at its’ peak, the question on many peoples’ minds is: “How long before I’m next?”

The unstable and changing weather conditions in Dubai over the last weeks has left many people with runny noses and nasty coughs. People often choose to pass on seeing a doctor, but with mandatory health insurance in Dubai, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the top 4 proven ways to stay healthy and hopefully laid to rest some of the myths surrounding the common cold while we were at it.

1) Try to avoid crowds. If you are feeling unwell, stay home.

People who should be staying in are showing up to work or school in an attempt to “power through” their illness. This has been shown to cause more harm than good as colds and flus are viral infections. This means that they can only spread through exposure. Yes, this means that cold weather and wet hair have no bearing on your likelihood of getting sick. It’s ok, we know your mom won’t believe us! When an infected individual coughs, sneezes, (or even breathes) they expel small droplets from the nose and mouth into the air and onto surfaces, where they can come into contact with others and make them ill. Additionally, rushing back into a stressful environment will likely make matters worse and prolong the length of the illness.

Tip: Check out Bayzat to compare hundreds of plans in real-time if you want your family or company insured against illness. 

2) Wash your hands as much as you can, and then wash them some more.

There is a reason doctors tend to be very cautious about hand shaking. As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. Considering the frequency with which humans touch their faces on a daily basis, germs can be easily transferred from the hands to the eyes, nose or mouth. Studies have shown that hand-to-hand contact is the most common way to spread viruses that cause most colds.

Tip: To fully get rid of viruses from your hands, aim to wash for at least 20 seconds! If you can’t get to soap and water, alcohol-based sanitizers can kill cold and flu causing germs.

3) Get plenty of sleep.

It’s one of the first pieces of advice you get when you’re sick, but we can’t stress it enough! Studies have shown that people who get under 7 hours of sleep a night are three times more likely to catch a bug as those who get 8 hours or more. Sleep deprivation is known to result in poorer immune function. Your body needs energy to fight off a nasty virus, so make sure you’re not spending too much elsewhere. Adequate sleep also allows your mind to rest and manages stress, helping you maintain a positive outlook.

Tip: Don’t depend on sleep-aids to get your rest. These drugs will help you fall asleep faster but will prevent you from reaching the deep level of sleep required for optimal benefits.

4) Get the right nutrition.

Your body is fighting a tough battle when you come down with a cold. There’s no better way to send in reinforcements than with a healthy diet. Although odds are your appetite has been reduced to that of a small hamster, it is crucial not to skip meals. The following foods can help soothe your symptoms and shorten the length of your illness.

-Honey: Strong evidence supports the cough-supressing properties of a teaspoon of honey.

-Salt Water: Gargling with salt water helps soothe throat pain and loosen irritating mucous.

-Citrus Fruits: Although the benefits of vitamin C in treating a cold have been debated, strong evidence suggests it can help reduce the length of your illness.

-Blueberries: These bite-sized antioxidant powerhouses will do wonders for your immune system.

-Fish: Fish like salmon and tuna, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, help reduce harmful inflammation in the body resulting in a stronger immune system.

-Garlic: Contains a compound noted for its antioxidant properties.

Tip: Although there is no direct correlation, drinking plenty of water helps keep you fresh and hydrated!

Last Words of Advice

Despite our immense leaps in modern medicine, there still doesn’t seem to be a cure for the common cold! That doesn’t mean however, that we can’t do anything to alleviate our symptoms and help get back on our feet more quickly. The key in cold and flu treatment is to act immediately.

Never underestimate your cold, it is a troublesome influenza that can develop into something more serious if not addressed. You never know what strain of virus you have and thus it is always recommended to be extra cautious and seek the help of a medical professional. With health insurance companies providing quality health insurance in Dubai, it doesn’t make sense not too. Some strains can be particularly nasty and would be better fought off with the help of anti-viral medication, specifically if your symptoms are accompanied by a fever. If you’re not covered yet, check out Bayzat to compare hundreds of health policies and take advantage of Bayzat Benefits: an online platform that allows you to find out where your UAE health insurance policy is accepted in real time.

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