From vitamins to staying stress-free: Tips for staying virus-free this flu season

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From vitamins to staying stress-free: Tips for staying virus-free this flu season

“Do you have enough face masks?” has become a common question since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which is now known as COVID-19. Spreading rapidly, the virus is the top priority across various cities with many following the tips issued by the World Health Organization on protection and safety.

We’ve all seen listicles advocating for the wearing of masks (if you’re unwell) in crowded places, washing your hands and the use of hand sanitisers. Outside of that, however, what else can we do to stay healthy – and calm – during the flu season, especially in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak?

To save all of us from some worry, we put together this guide on best practices and top tips on how we can stay healthy during an outbreak.

Maintain regular health checks and get vaccinated!

It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine, but it’s important to get it when you’re healthy. This is especially important for the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

While it may not prevent coronavirus, it will help build your immunity system against the more common seasonal influenzas—which will also reduce the risk of pneumonia or other complications.

It’s also important to maintain regular check-ups—at least on an annual basis. Such regular check-ups can help identify health issues early, before they become a problem. They also give you the best chance for getting the right treatment quickly, avoiding any further complications.

Watch your diet

Did you know: the top three nutrients to ensure a strong immune system are vitamin C, zinc and iron? The benefits of vitamin C to boost immunity are well documented, and it works best as a preventive measure, rather than a reactive one—meaning that people should take it before the onset of cold or flu symptoms. Vitamin C can be easily found in its natural form, within fruit and vegetable sources such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, bell peppers and broccoli!

Additionally, a zinc deficiency is also associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children and the elderly—but the nutrient can be easily found in poultry, breakfast cereals, beans, as well as nuts.

Breath through your nose

This might sound silly, but breathing through your nose instead of your mouth is one of the best things you can do when there is a virus going around. Air entering the body through the nose is warmed, humidified and filtered before it gets to the lungs—making a huge difference in terms of purifying the air. Even when wearing a mask (which can get hot and difficult sometimes), it’s best to continue to breathe through the nose.

Sleep well, and take time out for yourself

Ensuring that you get enough sleep is important as sleep is the body’s most effective method of recovering, which is a key tenet in keeping healthy.

A lack of sleep can affect your immune system, with studies showing that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to fall sick if they are exposed to a virus. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

It’s also important to take time to do the things you love, whether it is yoga, cooking, or an art class. Stress can inhibit some of the immune functions, and taking time out for yourself is a way to reduce that stress.


“The fitter you are, the stronger your immune system.”

Regular exercise such as aerobics and walking can boost the immune system, with a study finding that “feeling fit and being active cut the risk of having a cold by nearly 50%”. In addition, those who exercise regularly also recover more quickly.

Exercise helps balance stress hormones such as cortisol (which in large amounts, is a hormone that suppresses your immune function), and changes T-cells, a type of white blood cell, to the ones that are better at fighting disease.

With the onset of the COVID-19 across various cities, it is important to remember that we all have a part to play. From showing care and support to healthcare workers at the frontline during this time, or being vigilant in ensuring our own health conditions are accounted for, we can overcome this crisis together as a nation.

Here’s how you can have an Ethical and Sustainable Valentine’s Day

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Here’s how you can have an Ethical and Sustainable Valentine’s Day

It is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! It’s a day to celebrate love in all forms – and to show your appreciation not just to your sweetheart, but to your family and friends as well.

Before rushing out to get a bouquet of roses or plush red teddy bears that’ll just end up gathering dust, there are many other thoughtful ways to spend Valentine’s Day with those you love – without creating waste and in an ethical manner.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is simply about being with the one you love.

Dine in

Valentine’s Day is one of the most notoriously difficult times to get a dinner reservation at many restaurants. Instead of competing with the crowd, why not have a nice evening in, and spend time cooking a meal together with your partner?

Not only will this allow you guys to spend some quality time together on this special day, but it also lets you skip the unnecessary restaurant reservation stress and enjoy each other’s company, just as the day intended for it to be.

By choosing to dine in, you get to curate your own menu according to your taste and preferences. Conscious consumption choices can be made when you get to choose the meat you use. This is so you can either pick a local, sustainable option instead of something that has been shipped in from somewhere you may not know. You can even opt to mix it up and keep some or all of the spread vegan friendly. This is a wonderful way to make your Valentine’s day dinner more sustainable as well.

To complete this cozy home dining experience, set the ambiance of your dinner table with soy wax candles to make your Valentine’s Day dinner extra special.

Create a Special Memory

Holidays and special seasons often create a lot of waste and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Last three years, spending on flowers has seen an increase by 102% in Singapore during this season. Shopping contributes to a big chunk of waste that is generated for this day and it does not have to be that way should you opt for experiential gifts instead.

Experiential gifts allow recipients to experience something they have never done before. Similar to the experience of having to prepare a meal together, a shared experience shuts out all other distractions, and allows both parties to just enjoy the company of each other. Such experiences often lead to fond memories, which will be special and unique to just the two of you.

In fact, the experience doesn’t even have to be expensive – there are plenty of local events and places to go that won’t burn a whole in your pocket this Valentine’s Day.

Fair-Trade Chocolate

Chocolates and Valentine’s Day always seem to go together. Whatever shape of flavour this cocoa delight comes in, chocolates are touted as the love food that sets the mood for romance during this celebration. Unfortunately, not everything behind the production of chocolate is as good as its taste with the common use of child labour in its production.

This Valentine’s Day skip the conventional chocolate and opt for some Fair-Trade options instead. Consumers can influence the chocolate industry, and reading labels is the best place to start.

Save it for Later

Rather than spending money for the sake of this special day and potentially wasting it on a gift that your partner may not even like, why not gift them with your very own “Valentine’s Day” coupons. This way, they can activate that much needed massage after a long day of work or enlist your help with a sink full of dirty dishes, any day of the year.

It’s a great way to remind one another that a celebration of one another may not require physical gifts, but the acts you do for one another.

Show that Love Every Month

Thanks to the internet, last minute gifts are not limited to instant online gift cards for that special someone. Subscription services are great options and can be purchased anytime as well. What makes it even better is that there are all kinds for you to choose from based on your partner’s interests.

From workout studios, music and movies, to even coffee, you don’t need to search high and low for that one special gift for your loved one. This way, you even get to use it as an expression of your love on a monthly basis.

The best gifts come from the heart, and when they’re handmade or non-material, they’re showing love to Mother Nature too. You’ll find added romance in the non-commercial approach, whichever route you choose for keeping things a little greener this Valentine’s Day.