The countdown to the end-of-year summer break has begun, but it’s also the season when many of us fall prey to tummy bugs, unexpected colds, migraines and other nasties that can spoil the holiday fun.
Alisha Mackintosh, Allergy and Immunity
Portfolio Manager at Pharma Dynamics says it’s likely that certain changes in
our routine may be to blame.
“During the holidays we travel more,
eat out-, shop- and party more. We stay up late and are perhaps a little more
relaxed about hygiene, which can weaken our immune system and make us more
susceptible to viruses and bacteria.”
Understanding why we get sick will help us to avoid the common triggers over the holidays. Macintosh says we should be wary of:
Eating too much sugar It’s the time of year when many give in to festive season temptations that are often laden with sugar without realising that this weakens white blood cells. The effect can last for several hours after ingesting sugary food or drinks. If you’re consuming sweet things throughout the day it means that your immune system may continuously be operating at a distinct disadvantage.
Drinking too much alcohol The holidays are synonymous with parties and alcohol, but too much booze can inhibit the body’s ability to fight infection, so rather drink in moderation.
Staying up late Partying or catching up on Netflix until the wee hours of the night and getting up later in the mornings can trigger migraines. Sticking to healthy sleep habits and getting eight hours of sleep can reduce the frequency of headaches by 29% and the intensity by 40%.
Holiday shopping When on holiday, we tend to shop more, which means we’re handling and drawing cash more than usual. Money carries about 3 000 different types of bacteria that can lead to all sorts of illnesses. Always wipe shopping trolleys and surfaces with sanitising wipes before touching it or wash your hands afterward.
Traveling by plane Some studies have found that flying heightens our risk of catching a cold by 80%. Sitting in close quarters for a long flight might be partially to blame, but we typically push ourselves to meet all the last-minute deadlines before going on holiday, which puts a strain on our immune system. Consider boosting your immunity before a plane flight by getting enough rest, eating healthily and managing stress. Taking an immune-boosting supplement is also recommended. Look out for supplements that contain vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea, such as Efferflu C to keep the common cold at bay.
Too many holiday demands Securing the house before going away on holiday, hosting and accommodating family, getting all the shopping done, etc could all increase your stress load, which doesn’t do your immune system any good. Be aware of these stressors and take steps to better manage the demands that are placed on you to make the holiday season less challenging.