With the turn of winter, the days are becoming darker, colder and shorter and our bodies are more susceptible to all kinds of winter nasties, such as colds and flus. With the return of the dreaded cold and flu season, it is important to keep ourselves in flu-fighting shape by arming our immune system. So how do we stay well in winter? The following principles can help you continue to feel great when the weather turns bad!

GET VACCINATED – The seasonal flu vaccine provides 12 months cover against the major strains of flu, including swine flu. For certain people, such as people aged over 65 years, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people over 15 years, people who are pregnant or have a chronic illness, the vaccine is free.

WASH HANDS – Although this sounds simple, it is the number one way to stop the spread of germs. It is recommended to wash your hands every couple of hours, particularly before eating and after going to the toilet. It is also good practice to wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser (such as Ego Aqium Antibacterial Hand Gel) after touching someone else’s phone or keyboard at work.

DON’T STOP EXERCISING – Although the thought of an extra hour under the doona is more tempting than taking a chilly morning run, it is important to keep active during winter. Exercise is vital to keeping your immune system strong. And in winter, your body has to work overtime to get warm, so you even burn more kilojoules!

EAT WELL – Another way to keep your immune system in shape is to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet.  A diet that is high in immune-boosting foods will not only help protect you from colds and flus, but will help keep the weight off. Make sure to eat dark, leafy green vegetables and seasonal fruits.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS – Vitamin C, iron and zinc are key to a healthy immune system. Make sure you boost your dietary intake of these substances through food. But to also help you on your way, you can take supplements, such as Blackmores Bio C Chewable, Ethical Nutrients Immune Defence and Blooms ViralGuard Advanced Immunity)

REST UP – Regular sleep is vital to staying healthy. Those who aren’t well rested are more likely to get sick, so don’t let yourself get rundown.

STAY HYDRATED – Keeping hydrated is essential to staving of colds and flus. The moisture will also help to make mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses, more resistant to bacteria.

QUIT SMOKING - Smokers are far more susceptible to upper respiratory infections, which tend to strike in winter. So now’s a good time to quit and clear your airways! You can find products to help you quit smoking here. Make sure to always consult a healthcare professional to find the right product for you.

LOOK AFTER YOUR SKIN - Cold air, wind and heating can all dry out your skin. The skin produces less oil, and it’s dehydrated further as we tend to have hotter showers. So keep your face and body well moisturised such as with Dermaveen Moisturising Lotion and Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Moisturiser.