Having a healthy immune system is essential during the winter months, as it is our body’s first line of defense against seasonal sicknesses. Not only is this beneficial for our own health and the health of our families, but it can also help to protect the health of our wider community. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly are some of the best ways to ensure a healthy immune system. Additionally, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with those who are ill. Taking measures to support our immune system during the cold winter months can help us to stay healthy and keep our community safe.
Manatu Hauora (Ministry of Health) recommends the below tips to keep ourselves and our whanau healthy this winter.
1. Keep up healthy habits
- Wearing a face mask – we still need to wear face masks when visiting most healthcare services. It’s also a good idea to wear a mask when on public transport, in taxis, in busy indoor settings like retail stores and supermarkets.
- Washing your hands – Maintain good hand hygiene by washing and drying your hands thoroughly or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue. Avoid touching your face, dispose of tissues in a bin immediately and wash or sanitise your hands. This will prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses such as colds or flu.
2. Get winter-ready
- Develop a winter plan for your whānau so family members know what to do if people become unwell. Familiarise yourself with what is expected of you by your employer if you become sick yourself.
- Get your Winter Wellness Kit together: this might include painkillers, a thermometer, tissues, cold and flu medications, enough food and household items for a few days, and a good stock of the regular medicines you or your whanau will need.
- Support your immunity
Stock up your Winter Wellness Kit with these products:
Comvita™ Olive Leaf Extract is an excellent natural way to support your immune system* this winter. Available in 3 different flavours, it is so easy and convenient to work into your daily routine for an antioxidant boost.
*Traditionally used in Western Herbal Practice to support the immune system.
Visit Comvita to find out more about Olive Leaf Extract
Comvita™ Propolis Herbal Elixir is formulated with naturally-derived active ingredients. Combining Comvita’s own UMF™ 10+ Manuka honey with Echinacea and Propolis, this formula is designed to support winter wellness in the whole family.
Visit Comvita to find out more about Propolis Herbal Elixir
Comvita™ Kids Soothing Pops not only taste great but contain Comvita’s UMF™ 10+ Mānuka honey, ideal for soothing tickly coughs and throats. They contain no artificial colour or flavours, are non-GMO & gluten-free and come in 3 delicious flavours that kids enjoy: grape, orange, and lemon.
Visit Comvita to find out more about Kids Soothing Pops
Duro-Tuss Herbals Dry Soothing Chest Support to naturally help settle dry, tickly airways. It contains a single active ingredient to provide soothing relief.
- Helps soothe the throat and airways
- Helps settle dry, tickly airways
- Can be used for children 3 years +
- No added sugar
- Free from artificial colours, lactose and gluten
Visit Duro-Tuss to find out more about Herbals Dry Soothing Chest Support
Duro-Tuss Herbals Chesty Lung Support helps soothes the chest and clears chest congestion.
- Helps calm the airways
- Helps clear airways of mucus
- 2 years +
- Non-Drowsy Formula
Visit Duro-Tuss to find out more about Herbals Chesty Lung Support
3. Stay at home if you’re unwell
The symptoms of flu can be the same as, or similar to, the symptoms of COVID-19. Both are highly contagious so if you feel sick, stay home and take a COVID-19 test.
4. Get vaccinated
Vaccination is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves, our whānau and our communities from many infectious diseases.
- Getting a flu vaccine is the best defense from the flu this winter. It’s available now and are free for those most likely to get very sick.
- Make sure you have all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – it can help protect you from the worst effects of COVID-19.
5. Look after your mental wellbeing
The change of seasons can also be hard on our mental health. As we head into winter, it is important to look after our wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind), relationships and overall well-being. There are a number of simple things you can do every day to support your mental wellbeing:
- Stay connected with friends and whānau.
- Stick to a schedule or routine as best you can.
- Move your body daily.
- Get outside and spend time in nature.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Limit your time online and the amount of news you follow.
- Notice and appreciate small moments of joy.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs as these can make things worse.