Your shop-safe, stay-well checklist

Guest post by

Charlotte Haigh

Charlotte Haigh is a London-based health writer, contributing regularly to titles including Stylist, Marie Claire, Woman & Home, Healthy, Women's Health, Grazia and Health & Fitness.

Author views are not our own.

So you need to get out and about – but you’re concerned about the spread of Covid-19 and other winter bugs? Covid-19 rates are predicted to rise as the weather cools and we spend more time indoors, with other people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to avoid the shops if you want to keep yourself and others safe. There are special guidelines for vulnerable people and you should always be aware of any local lockdowns in place – and keep an eye on changing guidance. Otherwise, if you’re heading out to the shops, there are several things you can take with you that will help you do your bit to limit the spread of the virus and protect both your community and yourself. The good news is these basic steps won’t just help lower your risk of contracting coronavirus – they may also help reduce your chances of picking up other bugs doing the rounds, and can support your overall wellbeing. Win-win. Here’s the ideal mini-kit to take with you next time you hit the shops.

The right mask

Practising social distancing and washing your hands regularly are the best ways we can all help curb the spread of Covid-19. But out and about, wearing a face covering can help, which is why we now have to wear them in public places like shops. The virus can spread in airborne droplets when you talk or cough, so a covering can help limit this. The main purpose of the guidance is to help protect others - bear in mind you may not have symptoms1,2. Look for a mask with at least two layers of fabric. It should cover your nose and mouth without gaps, while still being comfortable3.

"The best available scientific evidence is that when used correctly a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus by preventing droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking."
Dr Hilary Jones, GP & Health Professional

On-the-go immune hacks

Noticing people coughing and sneezing as you walk around the shops? You could use it as a prompt to give your immune system some extra support. Our Manuka Middles are delicious honey and lemon lozenges containing zinc, a vital immune system mineral. Zinc is known to help enhance immune system cells and keep down levels of inflammatory substances called cytokines4. Some studies have suggested lozenges containing zinc may even ease symptoms of a cold and speed up recovery if you start them within 24 hours of coming down with the tell-tale signs5. Although zinc’s widely available through diet – in foods including shellfish, beef and baked beans – you may not be getting enough if your diet isn’t balanced, so it could be a good idea to top up when you need to make sure your defences are strong.

Portable hand sanitiser

Although it’s no replacement for washing, using sanitiser is a convenient way to cleanse germs from your hands when you’re shopping and can’t get to a sink. A gel with high alcohol content can help break down the fatty layer around the virus, destroying it6. You’ll probably find gels for public use in shops and stations – but some of these can be very drying. If that’s a concern, look for a sanitiser with high alcohol content plus moisturising ingredients, like our Hand Sanitiser With Manuka Honey, which is packed with nourishing honey goodness to help protect and your skin while blitzing germs.

Good hydration

Staying hydrated is important for your overall health. Making sure your pee is a pale straw-yellow colour throughout the day is the best way to monitor your hydration levels – if it’s darker than that, you need to drink up7. But popping into a café for a drink when you’re out and about isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. So stay hydrated and save money by always taking a reusable bottle of water or flask of tea with you. Reusable bottles and flasks are much better for the environment than disposable cups or plastic bottles of water. It’s not just plain water that keeps you hydrated – if you’re sipping on tea or juice when you’re out, it all counts towards the target six to eight glasses of fluids we should all be aiming for daily8.

Immune-supporting snacks

If you’re out for a while and your energy flags, you may need a snack. Rather than reaching for sugary pick-me-ups, why not take the opportunity to nibble on foods rich in immune-supporting nutrients? Although there are no single foods that will ‘boost’ immunity, it’s important to have a diet rich in a spread of vitamins and minerals9, and your snacks can contribute to this. Fresh and dried fruit and nuts and seeds are all excellent choices.

4. Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells.

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