Don't Sacrifice Your Skin for Colds and Flus

As if the harsh winter air and weather weren’t enough for your skin, colds and flus can make things worse. Constant sneezing and teary eyes could irritate your skin. And if you’ve got a terribly sniffly nose that has you shoving tissues into your face all day? Your nose isn’t going to come out unscathed. Say hello to dry, flaky skin.

Luckily, there are ways to deal with irritating cold and flu symptoms, and even ways to prevent them altogether.

 

Our Immune System Is All We Need

Despite the fact that colds and flus seem like seasonal viruses, we’re not destined to catch one each winter. Whether or not we catch a cold or flu depends on the state of our immune system. That’s our immune system’s job, after all. To keep us from getting sick. So long as we keep our immune system in tip-top shape, we don’t have to worry about catching annoying colds and flus, or other illnesses.

A healthy immune system fends off disease. But the immune system can’t work very well if it’s spread too thin and weakened by allergies, toxins, stress, lack of rest, and other factors.

Here are some simple things you can do to this winter to protect yourself from cold and flu viruses:

  • Wash your hands. By keeping your hands clean, you lower your chance of spreading a virus to your nose or mouth. You also lower your chance of spreading a virus to surfaces or other people. You don’t need antibacterial soap, either. Non-antibacterial soap will be enough.
  • Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow instead of into your hands. You’re less likely to spread viruses with your elbow than you are with your hands.
  • If you can, avoid close contact with people who are sick whether you’re sick or not.
  • Stay away from hospitals unless necessary. Recovering in the comfort of home is usually all you need.
  • Get enough rest. If your body is too tired, your immune system won’t be able to perform the way it needs to. It’s important to get quality sleep.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress can be incredibly damaging to your body and your immune system. If your immune system is under too much stress, it won’t function properly.
  • Exercise. Exercising improves the circulation of immune cells in your body, making it easier for your immune system to find and eliminate viruses and other pathogens.
  • Stay hydrated. Your body needs water to function optimally.

 

You could also change up your diet to support your immune system and protect yourself from colds, flus, and other diseases. Since 70% of your immune system is located in your gut, wouldn’t you think your diet would be the simplest way to support your immune system?

  • Cut sugars and processed foods out of your diet. Sugar throws off your gut flora by promoting the growth of bad bacteria. Since most of your immune system is located in your gut, having too much bad bacteria in your gut could throw off your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease.
  • Eat fermented foods like kimchee, miso, pickles, raw kefir, or sauerkraut. Fermented foods are high in probiotics. They would introduce plenty of good bacteria to your gut, potentially strengthening your immune system.
  • Eat only raw, organic foods whenever possible. Opt for grass-fed beef, as well.
  • Spices like cinnamon, cloves, oregano, and turmeric could support your immune system. So could maitake, reishi, and shiitake mushrooms.
  • Fresh, organic, raw garlic (crushed or chopped) has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. A clove a day could be an excellent way to support your immune system

You could also use these supplements with immune-supportive properties to give your immune system a boost:

 

Your Skin Doesn’t Have to Suffer

Sometimes symptoms of allergic reactions could be mistaken for a cold or flu. Avoid allergens in dairy, food, or even your cosmetics, and see if your symptoms improve.

If it turns out that you do have a cold or flu, you should still support your immune system with the things listed above. Your skin, however, may need some extra TLC.

If your skin needs more support because of a cold or flu:

  • Stay hydrated. This was already mentioned above, but keeping yourself well-hydrated will also support your skin and keep it from drying out.
  • Moisturize with non-toxic moisturizers. If you can, also use a humidifier at home to keep the air from drying out your skin. Just be sure to clean your humidifier often to prevent mold or mildew from building up.
  • Protect your skin when you go out. Use hats, gloves, scarves, and sunscreen. Even though the sun isn’t as strong as it is in the summer months, excessive sun exposure could still damage your skin in the winter.
  • Avoid taking long, hot showers and baths. They may feel nice, and they may even clear some stuffiness, but they’re an easy way to dry out your skin. Keep your showers short and use warm water.

You don’t have to trudge through cold and flu season with coughs, sneezes, a runny nose, and dry skin. As long as you support your immune system and your skin, you can make it through the winter feeling healthy and beautiful.

 

 

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