Sniffle season health tips

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

sniffle season health tipsIt’s that time of year again – the barometer is dropping, days are getting shorter and cold and flu viruses are circulating like wildfire.

Protect yourself

As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure, and getting a flu vaccine at the start of winter is your best shot at staying sniffle-free for the season. Though it doesn’t guarantee you won’t get flu, the jab boosts your immune system and makes you less vulnerable to lurking lurgies.

Keep warm

It’s true that there’s no direct link between colds and the cold – the spike in cold and flu infections during winter is largely due to people spending more time cooped up indoors with infected colleagues or family members. But a recent study indicates there is a strong indirect link between chilly weather and the sniffles. Recent research by scientists at Cardiff University’s Common Cold Center revealed that 29% of subjects who sat with their feet soaking in icy water for 20 minutes developed cold or flu symptoms within the next five days, compared to just 9% of control group members who sat with their feet in an empty bowl. The moral of the story – wrap up warm in bitter weather.

Scrub up

There’s a good reason mothers the world over drum the importance of hand-washing into their children. Roughly 75% of infections can be avoided through simple hygiene practises – washing hands regularly, keeping surfaces clean and disposing properly of waste.

Once bitten…

If you do fall prey to a flu bug, there are various steps you can take to make sure you heal faster. Since antibiotics aren’t effective against viruses, there’s not much point in popping them for cold and flu. You’d be better off spending a few days in bed to beat the bug, unless you develop a secondary bacterial infection – in which case a visit to the doctor and possibly a course of anti-biotics wouldn’t go amiss.

Eat healing herbs and spices

Asian cultures have harnessed the healing power of turmeric for hundreds of years, but it’s only in recent years that the spice has piqued the interest of western scientists. In the last decade, a flurry of modern studies have confirmed the medicinal attributes of this ‘Indian Gold’, which include antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. To help your body heal from a flu infection, whip up a pot of turmeric tea and drink several cups a day. Other culinary goodies to include in a recovery diet include chilli, which has three times as much vitamin C content as citrus fruit and stimulates secretions that help to clear congestion.

Take zinc

Vitamin C has been touted as a quick sniffle fix for decades, but modern studies have revealed that zinc may be even more effective at strengthening the immune system and banishing lurking flu viruses. Eat oysters, lean beef, lentils, pumpkin seeds and other zinc-rich foods, or pick up a supplement from your local pharmacy.

Image: Robert Kneschke/

Written by

After spending most of the last decade working as a journalist and editor in Thailand and travelling the East, Cindy returned to the Mother City in September 2010. She has written for a wide spectrum of online and offline publications in both South Africa and SE Asia and is passionate about reading, writing, food, globe-trotting and cats.

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  1. Pseudo_kate

    I’ll make sure that I’m more conscious about taking in more food that’s rich in zinc. Thanks :)

    5 years ago •

  1. diamond

    Curries, curries and more curries…. :)

    6 years ago •

  1. Leana

    I would add to this list – EXERCISE! Since I’ve joined the gym I’ve never gotten sick.

    6 years ago •

  1. Debbie

    Great article, always get the sniffles but this will certainly help me for the next time

    6 years ago •

  1. Sam

    Its hard when everyone in the family has the sniffles and even harder when it becomes a sniffle relay. Oui!

    6 years ago •

  1. Tanya

    Thanks for this interesting article,its so helpful

    6 years ago •

  1. Zu

    Lots of fruits and water…
    Oranges , naartjies , clementines and kiwis to name a few.
    And lots of water. Did i say that already?

    6 years ago •

  1. Botes

    Very informative, ill try these tips I used to get the flu shot but it makes me so sick its crazy!!!!! So I will definitely use these tips

    6 years ago •

  1. diamond

    I want to go and get the flu vaccination:-)

    6 years ago •


    Great article! Will be trying the zinc.

    6 years ago •

  1. julandism

    Great Article! Going to definitely increase my Zinc intake!

    6 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    good tips i hate neddles but i force myself to get a flu jab every year and i feel stronger lol

    6 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    i always carry hand sanatiser in my bag

    6 years ago •

  1. Mpbutterfly

    I am a true believer in natural products and find that herbs and spices with Vitamin C works the best for me. It might take longer but its worth it.

    6 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    If I feel just a little bit mizz I go out and buy myself litres of orange juice. Two days of drinking it I feel better again. I truly believe in Vit C!

    6 years ago •

  1. honey_child

    Thanks for this article..very useful tips especially in this season!

    6 years ago •

  1. Bella

    Thanks for this article. Very useful tips

    6 years ago •

  1. Debsie

    Thanks for this article. Got the snuffles for weeks now. Hubby and the little man being really sick

    6 years ago •

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