Colds are caused by a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, sinuses and airways.1 Influenza is also caused by a viral infection but is generally more debilitating than a cold, with symptoms including fever, body aches, fatigue, and dry cough.2 Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your immune system is functioning at its best and minimise your risk of catching an infection from those around you.
One of the most important ways to assist immune health is to reduce stress levels, as the substances secreted by the body during stress reduce your ability to remain healthy. Prolonged sleep deprivation can also impair immunity, as a lack of sleep prevents the body from repairing cells. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night to help boost your immunity.3 Diet also plays an important role in the health of your immune system. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which are good for your immune system and overall health. Choose colourful varieties, especially those that are blue, purple, red, orange or yellow.4
There are several supplements that may help to support healthy immune function. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to reduce the duration and severity of colds and maintains healthy immune function. Olive leaf has been known since ancient times for its medicinal properties. It has potent antioxidant properties and has been used in traditional western herbalism to reduce fevers.