Photo cred - Photolenvol
Christmas and the holidays are not the only 'season' in winter. You also have the painstakingly awful flu/cold season to look forward to. Way back when you were 9, getting sick meant a few days off school, letting you stay at home and do whatever the muck you please. Now, with a job or in university, being sick means lost wages and getting days behind in your workload. Every city is a hub for infectious germs and sicknesses, but don't let Montreal get you sick this winter. Follow these rules and you'll know how to stay healthy this winter in Montreal.
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Just touching things can spread sickness, so be mindful of what you grab, as in avoid those STM metro/bus poles, they are a hotbed for bacteria. Frequently washing your hands can cut down the chance of getting sick, but you don't always have a sink at the ready. Be mindful of where you are too. Using the cutlery at a friends place is WAY safer than feeling up the metro or bus pole that a hundred other people have groped. Don't go touching your eyes and face right after either, as that's pretty much giving germs a one-way ticket to your vulnerable insides.
Don't Stress, Stay Relaxed
Nobody likes to be stressed out, and the nervous state of mind can have real effects on your physical health. Stress and anxiety lower IgA levels, which lowers the performance of your immune system. Go do yoga at Moksha Yoga, get a relaxing massage at Spa Evia, or do both at Studio Bliss.
Buffets Are Not Your Friend
All you can eat is bad for your waistline and your immune system. Buffets are great for variety and stuffing your face, but they're major germ magnets. Think about it: all that food left mostly uncovered, random people walking about doing God knows what to the food around them (touching, coughing, sneezing), and you shoveling it into your belly without a care in the world. Food courts are similarly prone to sickness, for many of the same reasons.
Drink. For Realz
Too good to be true? Not entirely. Two studies have shown that drinking alchol can prevent getting sick. One demonstrated that in a group of 391 people. regular drinkers got sick less often. The second showed how wine drinkers were 60% less likely to get sick. Moderation is key, of course, as getting too drunk can lower your body's ability to fight infection. Feel free to hit up the SAQ, just don't buy a giant bottle of rum and use the excuse of "oh it's just because I don't want to get sick."
Eat Well, Feel Good
No surprises here, you are what you eat, and the healthier the food, the more healthy you'll be. As delicious as Belle Pro is, you might be better off hitting up Atwater Market or Adonis for some fresh fruits and veggies chock full of vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Pump The Beats
Plug in your iPod and rock your headphones because listening to music/audio stimulation will keep sickness at bay. Music increases the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA) protein, an immune-boosting protein. The perfect excuse to check out our latest in music, see a show at Casa Del Popolo, and download the MTL Blog-cast.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
Although research by the University of Queensland in 2004 somewhat discredited the importance of drinking a lot of fluids to stay healthy, the old tradition won't make you anymore prone to getting sick. Besides, sipping on tea is the best way to soothe an oncoming sore throat and is just very pleasurable during the intense cold of winter. If you're a Concordia student, or just happen to be near Guy and Sherbrooke, you should check out Hestia Tea. Independently owned and original to Montreal, Hestia Tea has a great selection of teas and a homey atmosphere (see our original post here). David's Tea is a safe bet too.
Get Busy in the Bed
Not only is sex fun and pleasurable, it can also aid in avoiding sickness. Making out will exchange infectious fluids and build a resistance (much like a flu shot) and getting to home base will lower your stress levels, making you less likely to get sick. Its a shame Montreal's Sexapalooza already passed. Just be sure to stay away from all of those tempting "massage" parlours around Montreal. For all the ways sex can improve your health, click here.
Break a Sweat
Need another reason to hit the gym? Well, you're getting one whether you like it or not. Excercising temporarily raises your body's number of anti-flu cells, with regular workouts keeping your immune system in tip top shape. You don't need to be an intense gym bunny, as doing half an hour of cardio three times a week can be enough. Get at the many YMCAs in Montreal, or get a little more intense Crossfit Montreal.
Take a Shot
Flu shots aren't for everyone, but they are an official method of combating the sick season. Conspiracy theories be damned, because a flu shot can really help in preventing the onset of influenza. Check out Santé Montreal for a list of clinics you can get your flu shot.