Even before the global pandemic kicked in, if you’ve got small kids then your house is already a raging plague-pit. Fatherhood involves stemming a torrent of runny noses on a round-the-clock basis. If one of your children gets sick, you’re unlikely to escape.
The threat of coronavirus now means that every cough and sniffle comes edged with an extra layer of anxiety. The bad news: there are no supplements or magic pills to protect you from COV-19. But what can do is take active measures to strengthen your immune system.
Frankly, you can’t afford not to. Coronavirus aside, research from the University of Utah’s School of Medicine confirms just how hard it is for parents to avoid colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses. Their medics found that kids younger than five had at least one virus detected in their nasal mucus for 50 per cent of the year.
Another finding: the more kids you have, the more likely your risk of getting sick. Households with one child tested positive for some form of virus being present in the house about 18 weeks of the year. But families with more than four children tested positive about 45 weeks of the year. That’s 87 per cent of the time!
Certain precautions like ensuring proper handwashing, solid nutrition and adequate sleep are logical places to start. But you can also use the latest research to win the cold war or at least give yourself a fighting chance.
Your hands transmit germs, so keep them off your face. A study in the Journal of Occupational Health found that people who occasionally rub their eyes and nose are 41 per cent more likely to catch frequent upper-respiratory infections than those who refrained. Keep the chin-stroking, brow-mopping and nose-picking to a minimum.
Neck more Vitamin D
Stock up on the sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D boosts your immune system and encourages your body to fend off colds. Researchers at McMaster University found that taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a week may slash your risk of upper-respiratory infection in half.
Let’s face it, you probably drink too much coffee already, so brew some green tea instead. The benefit is a magic ingredient called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which, according to a study from Essen University Hospital in Germany, can fight off influenza virus particles and disrupt the bacteria that cause pneumonia. Put the kettle on now.
Researchers at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan found that fresh ginger can help stop bronchitis or pneumonia by hampering the respiratory bug from attaching itself to your cells. Stick some ginger in your next stir-fry or grate some up in boiling water with a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey.
Hit the sweet spot
On second thoughts, add another spoonful honey to that ginger tea. A study in the journal Microbiology found that manuka honey will help to combat the bacteria that’s present in strep throat.
Get a flu jab
Fortify your defence and get a flu shot. Professor Brendan Murphy, the Chief Medical Officer for the Federal Government, recommends getting vaccinated from mid-April to help you develop immunity before the rates of flu start to climb. Winter is coming – the fightback starts here.