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Top 3, in Norway

Posted by on Mar 31, 2020 in by DataDiggers, by MyVoice | 0 comments

Surely, we all know the situation of the global pandemic, so it is pointless to ignore the elephant in the room. We took all precautionary measures (we hope you will), moving our offices for a moment at home, in the bedroom, kitchen or living room and we continued to provide you with the best content.

Given the evolution of the news of the last period, it is not surprising that we had to take a break from departures and trips, even if they were planned in advance. As much as we are interested in discovering this wonderful planet that we have taken advantage of lately, so much should concern our health and others. With this idea in mind, we decided to bring back on the blog a type of article already known by some readers, our Top 3.

It is no mystery that Norway has become the most productive nation in the world, having discovered its remarkable natural resources and, first and foremost, oil, which has been totally missing in the past. But where do we find Norway on the map? For Europeans that might be an easy guess, but for people outside of it, not so much. Geographically, it is situated as far north of mainland Europe as you can and hosts the northernmost point in mainland Europe that can be accessed by vehicle–the North Cape Cliff. It’s part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It is a long country that’s bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia on the east, and a wide coastline facing the North Atlantic Ocean on the west.

Nearly half of the country’s inhabitants live in the far south, in the area surrounding Oslo, the capital. Starting from this, let’s see what cities have the highest population:

  • Oslo – around 675.000 people
  • Bergen – around 270.000 people
  • Trondheim – around 180.000 people

Did you know that in recent years, Norway has consistently been rated as the ‘ best country to live in’ by the United Nations Human Development Survey? This annual ranking is primarily based on average rates of education and employment, together with life expectancy, but also on factors such as civil rights and cultural freedom. There are 5.2 million people living in Norway and it is said that almost 32% of them have higher education.

Since we have mentioned the total population, we should also mention the ethnic groups:

  • Norwegian 2% (includes about 60.000 Sami)
  • Other European3%
  • Other 5%

Moving forward, let’s see what this country really has to offer. Norway is mostly famous for its natural scenery, fjords and glaciers, the beautiful Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. There are 291 peaks with a sea level height of 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) or more and a topographical prominence of more than 10 metres. Fun fact, modern and ancient skiing were invented in Norway. The highest mountain peaks are:

  • Galdhøpiggen – 2469 meters 8100 ft)
  • Glittertind – 2465 meters (8087 ft)
  • Store Skagastølstinden – 2405 meters (7890 ft)

Most of us have dreamed at least once in their lives about the islands on the Mediterranean or the Caribbean and how breathtaking and exotic they are. But you know what else they can be? Mainstream and overcrowded during the season time. Norway’s beautiful islands, on the hand, have to offer an even better scenery. Here are some that captured our attention:

  • Moskenesøya, Lofoten (a great place for hiking)
  • Hidra, Vest-Agder (an idyllic landscape)
  • Vestvågøy, Lofoten (some of the best beaches for surfing in Europe)

 We’ve mentioned people, mountains, beaches, but what about attractions? According to different opinions, Norway provides tourists an amazing blend of cultural and natural wonders. Getting around the state is convenient, and the country’s top-notch transit systems offer some of the best opportunities for sightseeing, whether by rail or by fantastic coastal steamers. The top 3 are:

  • Geirangerfjord – The most popular tourist destinations in Norway are undoubtedly the fjords.
  • Arctic Circle – A wide part of northern Norway is situated inside the Arctic Circle, which provides the country with two of its most popular tourist attractions. The first, the Midnight Sun, is an incredible sight and feel, which can be experienced during the summertime. Yet, it’s the dazzling Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, that really steals the spotlight in the winter.
  • Rock of the Pulpit (Preikestolen) – A massive cliff best-known for providing great views and lifetime experiences.

And since we’ve already talked about the demographic and geographic factors, let’s consider the economic ones as well.  The country has a very high standard of living relative to other European nations and a highly developed healthcare system. The current development and welfare system of Norway depends on a financial surplus provided by the extraction of natural resources, in particular North Sea oil. According to United Nations statistics for 2016, Norway, along with Luxembourg (a small country) and Switzerland, are the only three countries in the world with GDP per capita of more than $70,000 that are neither island nations nor micro-states.

Norway is the 36th biggest export market in the world and, according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), the 22nd most dynamic economy. In 2017, Norway exported $106B and imported $84.8B, which resulted in a healthy trade surplus of $21.2B. The top 3 exports are:

  • Crude petroleum ($28.1B)
  • Pretoleum gas ($27.7B)
  • Non-fillet fresh fish ($5.61B)

In terms of imports, the most recent are:

  • Cars (7.4%)
  • Iron structures (4.8%)
  • Refined petroleum (2.7%)

Now that we’ve talked about all the general issues, it’s time to move on to more pleasant things. Let’s talk about culture and entertainment. Have nothing to do? What about watching some of the best TV that Norway has to offer? Over the last few years, a lot of very good shows have made it to the international stage. Best of part? They’re all either shot, dubbed, or subtitled in English. Some of the most popular are:

  • Ragnarok (and it has nothing to do with the Marvel movie)
  • Norsemen, Vikingane (which the Guardian termed it as “Monty Python meets Game of Thrones”)
  • Skam (a high-school sensation that most teenagers have watched)

Last but not least, the culture is represented by the culinary preparations. The favorite part of all of us. If you want to plan your vacation, we help you get the full experience through the delicious recommendations we have ‘stolen’ from those able to recommend or judge. Someone said that you don’t truly know a country — or its people — until you know its cuisine, and authentic Norwegian fare certainly isn’t something you’re likely to find back home. With respect to that, here are the top 3 highlights of this country’s most famous recipes:

  • Brown cheese (an almost caramelized fudgy-salty cheese)
  • Pickled herring (a popular dish at Christmas)
  • Potato lefse (a type of pancake eaten for breakfast)

An as another fun fact, the cheese slicer was invented way back in 1925 by Thor Bjørklund and has become a staple of all Scandinavian kitchens, and many others around the world. Amazing, right?

So, to close, for now we feel that we have covered all the categories needed to make an attempt at what it wants to be an article on travelling about this amazing country. We hope you found this article interesting, and if you liked it, we expect you both in the comments and on our site to make your voices heard. Until next time, stay safe!

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How will the coronavirus outbreak impact the global economy?

Posted by on Mar 24, 2020 in by DataDiggers, by MyVoice | 0 comments

The outbreak of Covid-19, as the disease is officially called, is crippling supply chains, sapping sales of certain goods, throwing transportation into turmoil, alarming financial prices, and heightening expectations of a global recession.

There is still so much we don’t know about coronavirus, which leaves the future economic implications very unpredictable for both China and the rest of the world. It is also impossible to fully distinguish one factor— in this situation, a virus outbreak — from something else that occurs in the world that can ratchet up stocks or pressure economies. It is also impossible to determine how large, long or widespread any economic effect would be. But it is obvious from how crazy stocks are responding, and from the government’s response that the planet is on the verge of a possible coronavirus-slowdown.

In some aspects, the 2020 pandemic looks a little like the crisis that spread through the globe in 2008, where the threats that undermined economic recovery could be tracked back to mortgage-backed securities and other speculative loans. Since then, the entire environment of the workplace has changed to the freelance economy and online networks that put employers and practitioners together.

China makes up a much greater share of the global economy than it did in 2003, when SARS, another form of coronavirus disease, broke out. Today, businesses like Apple and Nike and other manufacturers and corporations around the world are now acknowledging that they experience the negative impact of the epidemic and most of them have even announced closing down their factories and stores.  Luxury brands producers, who rely on Chinese customers who spend a lot of time at home and on vacation, have also been affected. Luxury fashion brands in particular, which are highly dependent on Chinese consumers, are reaching. The investment consulting firm Bernstein’s study showed that the coronavirus could end up losing the luxury industry as much as $43 billion in revenue in 2020, says Business Insider.

Dozens of global airlines have slashed flights to and from China. Major institutions and banks have cut their forecasts for the global economy, with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development being one of the latest to do so.

Overall, it was a bruising year for China. A trade war with the United States left its economy expanding at the slowest pace in 30 years. Analysts predict that 4 million jobs might have been lost in 2019. The coronavirus epidemic has already been identified this year, killing thousands and infecting thousands more, putting a brake on China’s economy.

To make matters worse, the illness travels exponentially across the world, with countries like Italy, Iran and South Korea registering more than 7,000 cases each. Other European countries, such as France, Germany and Spain, have also seen a recent surge of more than 1,000 cases.

The vulnerability to multinational supply chains is far more alarming. Qualcomm (QCOM), the world’s largest supplier of mobile chips, warned that the epidemic created “major” concern about the market for smartphones and the supplies required to produce them. Auto parts shortages have also prompted Hyundai (HYMTF) to close plants in South Korea and led Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) to make contingency arrangements to prevent the same outcome at one of its plants in Europe.

The epidemic has prompted large companies and banks to that their estimates for the global economy. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Cooperation is one of the most recent organizations to do so. In its March report, the OECD reported that it had downgraded its 2020 growth prediction for almost all economies:

According to the survey, China’s gross domestic product performance was the biggest downgrade in magnitude. The Asian economic giant is projected to rise by 4.9% this year, which is slower than the previous estimate of 5.7%, according to the OECD. Elsewhere, the global economy is predicted to expand by 2.4% in 2020—down from the 2.9% estimated earlier, the study said.

In other words, the entire planet has to suffer economically. Of course, the situation differs from state to state because not all countries have applied increased or critical measures, and daily activities can still be present. In our country of origin, Romania, education has been suspended for an unknown period of time, cultural activities as well, and recently restaurants and venues have also announced their closure. Several companies have decided to send their employees home, in the idea that they can work remotely, or have had to fire them. At the moment, this creates many irregularities, because many employees can no longer receive their salary, since their managers do not produce anything to pay them.

If the epidemic lasts far into April, the number of individuals affected would be exponentially higher and customers and supply chains will not recover easily. Not only will there be a longer period of lower investment, but even what economists call “second-round consequences” will intensify the impact. For example, sustained disruption may lead to lower customer and company trust and lower spending across a wide variety of categories. Businesses hanging on to staff, looking for a transient benefit, might start sending them down, and families will have less money to spend.

It will be impossible to stop a full-fledged recession. Worse, long-term interest rates are now close to zero, seriously restricting the Fed’s ability to improve the US economy. Fiscal policies, such as tax cuts on payrolls, may benefit, but what restricts spending at this period is not lack of resources, but lack of desire to spend.

In conclusion, whether investors are overreacting depends on the probability that the epidemic will continue. Markets also tend to expect the effects of the epidemic to last more than a few months. Nevertheless, resilience depends to a large degree on containment mechanisms and on our decision makers.

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Celebrations around the world

Posted by on Mar 17, 2020 in by DataDiggers, by MyVoice | 0 comments

Over the years, traditions have shifted and with them, the way we perceive them. The dictionary.com description notes traditions as “the transfer of claims, beliefs, stories, rituals, knowledge, etc., from generation to generation, in particular by word of mouth or practice.” But if we were to follow tradition’s modern-day usage, we would come to the conclusion that we have a lot of them. Nowadays, everything can become a tradition if you’re brave enough.

Celebrations of holidays, religious practices and birthdays are the main ones, which we all know. Cultural traditions, instead, depend on where we grow up and have nothing to do with the ones mentioned above. They bring families together and connect us to people with similar values.

For those of you interested, the word tradition comes from the Latin noun traditio (handing over), which derives from the verb tradere (hand over, deliver). Traditions can be verbal or non-verbal. Non-verbal traditions include traditional artifacts (e.g. icons, monuments, symbolic objects), sites, designs, gestures, postures, customs and institutions. Oral traditions are represented by knowledge handed on through centuries by word of mouth but is not written down. This encompasses historical and spiritual traditions, literature and the rule of law (e.g. blowing out candles at birthday celebrations, tipping a waiter or waitress for good service, removing shoes before entering a home).

In today’s article we wanted to make a different kind of list/top, in which we explore traditions from around the globe. Here are a few of the world’s most popular celebrations:

  • Holi, Festival of Color (India) – happening at the beginning of March

Holi is an ancient Hindu holy festival, also known – for obvious reasons – as the Color Festival. While it originated in India as a celebration of Prahlada’s victory over the evil Hiranyakaship in Bhagavata Purana, it has since been embraced in other nations, particularly where there is a large Indian diaspora. The event, celebrated annually in the spring, ends with the traditional Holika bonfire. The outcome is a spectacular free-for-all, with plumes of water and colorful powders filling the room, where everybody – regardless of their history or status –enters the ‘ fight ‘.

  • Yi Peng Lantern Festival (Thailand) – happening on the 22nd of November

Celebrated in the northern Lanna province of Thailand, Yi Peng – performed alongside the greater Loi Krathong festival (where miniature painted water floats are released into rivers) is a festival of lights in which sky lanterns are launched into the air. As well as the impressive sight of thousands of flickering lanterns being hurled into the sky, there are occasional parades, firework shows and lighting of houses and temples. Traditionally, the festival is observed on the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (usually November) and takes place in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom.

  • Oktoberfest (Germany) – happening in Autumn

Oktoberfest (German pronunciation: is the biggest Volksfest in the world (beer festival and funfair). Annually held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, the 16-to 18-day folk festival runs from mid-September to the first Sunday in October, with more than six million participants from all over the world attending the celebration every year. High amounts of Oktoberfest beer are drunk during the event: 7,7 million liters (66,000 US bbl; 1,700,000 imp gal) were sold during the 16-day celebration in 2013. Visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions, such as thrill parks, sidewalks and sports. There is also a wide variety of conventional foods available.

  • Patrick’s Day (Ireland, and in countries with a large Irish diaspora) – happening on the 17th of March

St. Patrick’s Day is a regional festival of Irish history on or near 17 March. It is especially reminiscent of St Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, who operated as a Christian in Ireland in the fifth century. St. Patrick’s Day is observed in other parts of the world, in particular by Irish societies and organizations. A lot of people wear green clothes on the day. Parties of Irish cuisine and cocktails colored in green fruit are part of this celebration. It’s a time when children can indulge in sweets and adults can share a pint of beer in a local pub. St Patrick’s Day is a holiday in Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is also a festive day in parts of the country where it is not a national holiday.

  • Rio de Janeiro Carnival (Brazil) – happening Friday before Ash Wednesday (51 days to Easter)

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a festival that takes place every year before Lent and is considered the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people on the streets every day. The first carnival festival in Rio took place in 1723. A traditional Rio carnival parade is packed with revelers, floats and ornaments from various samba schools based in Rio (about 200, split into 5 leagues / divisions). The Samba Schools Parade is the highlight of the Rio Carnival and takes place at the Sambadrome Prof. Six different groups of samba schools play every night, taking up to 80 minutes to walk down the runway.

  • Comic Con (San Diego, California) – happening usually in July

San Diego Comic-Con International is a non-profit multi-genre film and comic book festival organized annually in San Diego, California, USA. It is a four-day festival (Thursday–Sunday) organized during the summer. Originally featuring mainly comic books and science fiction / fantasy based film, television, and similar mainstream media, the festival has also incorporated a broader variety of pop culture and cultural features from nearly all genres, including horror, Western animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, computer games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. Annually, about 130.000 people take part in the event.

  • La Tomatina (Valencia, Spain) – happening usually at the end of August

La Tomatina is an annual, globally-renowned Spanish festival. As the name suggests, tomatoes are a huge part of this day-long festival, with thousands taking part in a mass tomato-fueled food war. La Tomatina can trace its roots back to the mid-1940s, when the first public tomato food fight accidentally took place in Buñol. La Tomatina might not be the longest fight, but the one-hour battle is pretty serious. You’re going to get drenched with a water hose, and then, as the cannon fire happens, it’s all hands on as many tomatoes as you can bring to the enemy, who could just be your best friend.

  • AgitÁgueda (Águeda, Portugal) – happening in July

Some of the most identifiable features of this lively Portuguese festival is the construction of hundreds of bright parasols on one of the city’s avenues. Other areas of the urban environment, such as park benches, steps and utility lines, are often covered in vivid samples of street art, producing an enchanting atmosphere. The goal of the festival is to encourage new musical and creative ventures with the’ Talentos AgitAgueda,’ a competition for young artists. As well as new aspirations, there are many proven national and international acts that grace the stage.

  • Fuji Shibazakura Festival – happening during Spring time

The Fuji Shibazakura Festival takes place every year and last year welcomed more than 500,000 people. From mid-April to the end of May, 800,000 shibazakura flowers (pink moss or phlox moss) bloom near Lake Motosu in the Fuji Five Lakes area. It creates colorful colors of pink, orange, brown, and white— all set against the image of Mount Fuji. The Mt. Fuji Wonderful Food Festival also takes place during the Fuji Shibazakura Season, with stalls selling pink moss pots along with the regular season food and a variety of local souvenirs.

  • Mardi Gras (New Orleans, USA) –happening two weeks before Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras is a Christian celebration and a common culture tradition that traces back thousands of years to the ancient celebrations of springtime and fertility. Often known as the Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world— mainly those with significant Roman Catholic populations— on the day before the holy season of Lent starts. The largest parades of the season and the best celebrations are in the two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Day, getting people of all ages and dresses together in parades, pubs, formal balls and more.

To sum it all up, holding traditions alive is necessary for the next generation to know about a common or shared history. Traditions are values or practices that are carried down from one generation to the next within a social community or culture. Traditions are also related to one’s ethnicity or religion. Any practices are secular and shared by a wide variety of ethnic cultures.

But in our current civilization, keeping rituals alive remains difficult. Diversity of existence is essential for the adoption of new concepts and ways of being. However, the lack of sanctity attributed to rituals is a detrimental result of globalization. Some claim that customs are out of date or represent a belief structure that is not relevant in today’s world.

We would like to discover more traditions or celebrations, so let us know in the comments below what YOU use to celebrate in your country of origin.

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The impact of social media on today’s society

Posted by on Mar 10, 2020 in by DataDiggers, by MyVoice | 0 comments

In just over a decade, for many, the influence of social media has gone from being an amusing bonus to being a fully integrated part of almost every area of everyday life. In the 21st century, if you aren’t online, you risk missing valuable opportunities to learn, earn, and live better. If you’re offline, you don’t have the opportunity to access valuable services or easily get updated from multiple sources, or participate actively in life and social and political discussions.

The Internet should represent our interests, aspirations and ambitions and empower us to achieve our dreams, rather than amplifying our worries and grievances or broadening the tensions of today’s society by radicalizing opposing groups.

Social media has grown exponentially since 2004, and has not yet reached its peak in prominence. There’s no doubt that social media platforms are a big source of information and news today. But not all of it. The social media platforms are unique in their way of interacting with customers. These not only provide users with a forum for connecting outside geographic and social borders, but they also provide endless possibilities for sharing user-generated content, such as photos and videos.

As it’s the beginning of the year, we felt posting the most important social media figures to keep in mind for 2020 would be a great idea. Staying on top of the latest social media trends will help improve your marketing strategy and prepare your company’s experiences with social media. Let’s take a look at the top social media statistics for 2020, and how they can help shape your year ahead.

  1. The worldwide use of social media is ever growing. It is certainly one of the most popular online activities the users participate in. The 2019 social media statistics show that there are 3.5 billion users on social media around the globe, and that figure is only increasing. That is approximately 45 percent of the current population;

  1. Since its inception, Facebook has dominated the social media environment, and continues to evolve to meet the needs of its users. With more than 2.32 billion active monthly users Facebook is the most commonly used site for social media. Active users are the people who have logged in to Facebook over the last 30 days. Around two-thirds (68 per cent) of U.S. people currently disclose being Facebook users (Pewinternet, 2018). Ironically, Facebook was also the first social network ever to cross this milestone in the third quarter of 2012.
  2. Emarketer has broken down social media usage and the findings by generation, to say the least, are significant. To break it down, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active users of social media (Emarketer, 2019). Millennials tend to be the group with the largest social media usage, and also the broadest mobile exposure. Conversely, Gen X is more likely to use smartphones. Finally, Baby Boomers are also bridging the technological gap and becoming more familiar with social media platforms.
  3. We are all gradually becoming slaves to social media in this day and age. Whether it’s scrolling down the subway streams from our bottomless Twitter, or sharing the ultimate brunch shot on Instagram before dining, social media has become inevitable. Social media research shows that social networks and texting are spent on average 3 hours a day per person (Globalwebindex, 2019).
  4. The brands are riding the social media marketing surge. 73 percent of advertisers claim that their social media marketing campaigns have been ‘ slightly effective ‘ or ‘ extremely effective ‘ for their company (Buffer, 2019).

However, apart from seeing the new baby of your friends on Facebook, or hearing about the recent encounter of Justin Bieber with the law on Twitter, what are some of the real impacts that social media has had on our culture, both positive and negative?

  • Impact on politics: Each politician who is worth his money wants to jump on the bandwagon for social media. This is because social websites have played a significant role in many worldwide campaigns, including in the United States, Iran and India. These have also helped to rally people for a cause, and in many countries motivated mass movements and political unrest.
  • Impact on businesses: Net-savvy businesses use social media to advertise their products, create
    loyalty to consumers and many other functions. Consumer experiences and reviews help companies understand the market, and fine tune their offerings and tactics. Many companies organize contests and give away prizes to enthuse consumers more often to visit their social website. Compared with television advertisements and other costly methods of marketing, the presence of social media is a cheap and effective means of improving brand image and visibility.
  • Impact on socialization: Social networks provide users with the ability to re-connect with their old friends and acquaintances, make new friends, exchange ideas, share content and photos, and many more. Users will stay up-to-date with the latest global and local trends, and take part in their variety of initiatives and events. Professionals use social media sites such as LinkedIn to improve their career prospects and business prospects. Students should collaborate with their colleagues to develop their communication skills and academic abilities. Through communicating with people in other countries you can learn about the diverse cultures and societies.

  • Cyber bullying: If you’re not vigilant, unscrupulous people will threaten you on social sites to cyber bully and harass you. Kids in classrooms, young girls and women can fall prey to online attacks that can create tension and distress. Do not take it lying down if you’re a victim of cyber bullying so try to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrator.
  • Impact on privacy: What you post on the Net will come back to haunt you if you are not careful. By sharing personal information on social sites, people can be exposed to crimes such as identity theft, bullying etc. When recruiting an employee, several businesses run a background check over the Internet in order to see if that person will embarrass the company or not.

Social media, and the internet as a whole, has given people more access to information than ever before. And not just more access but better access-at any time anyone with a mobile device can check for almost any information they need.

“The amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years. Moreover, there are now many more people who interact with information. Between 1990 and 2005 more than 1 billion people worldwide entered the middle class. As they get richer, they become more literate, which fuels information growth.” – The Economist

What’s the answer, then? Is social media fundamentally good, or does it have a “negative impact on society”? Social media as stated in this article has its benefits and drawbacks. It is up to each user to carefully use social sites to improve their professional and social life, and to exercise caution to ensure that online hazards do not fall victim to them. Our advice, though, is to always be careful and not to get too lost in the endless world of the Internet.

 

 

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How do we protect ourselves from the flu?

Posted by on Mar 3, 2020 in by DataDiggers, by MyVoice | 0 comments

Changing seasons does not always come with good news. Often, this can increase the occurrence of colds or viruses, so it is essential to know how we protect ourselves and what we can do to avoid such unpleasant situations.

As for today’s topic, we all know that lately things have taken a rather strange turn. With this occasion, we considered it important to do some kind of informing.

Did you know that most people get a minimum of 2 colds a year? Well, you could also be one of the 1 in 5 Americans coming down with the flu. Do not worry though, you can beat those odds and make this cold and flu season different if you take the right steps, which we will present later on our discussion.

A good placed to start is by understanding the differences between terms. Cold and flu are similar, but the two conditions are different in manifestation. Both are caused by viruses which are contagious. Often the cold is mild, it starts slowly but may take longer. There is this old saying that a cold can last for 7 days if it’s treated and a whole week if it’s not. The flu is often more severe, happens suddenly and passes in a shorter period of time.

Various researches showed that people who practice good hygiene, get sick less often than those who do not regularly wash their hands or cover their mouths when they cough. One of the best ways to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year (although it is a very delicate topic, that can stir up discussions pretty easily), but good health habits can often help stop germ spread and prevent respiratory diseases such as flu. Thus, if there is one tip to take seriously during the cold and flu season, it is to soap up at the sink. A 2011 survey conducted by the Hygiene Council, an international group to reduce the spread of infectious disease, examined the hygiene behaviors of more than 1,000 people in 12 countries. The results were the following:

  • Respondents who reported being concerned about good manners (such as covering their mouths to avoid affecting others with cough or sneeze) were 2.5 times more likely to report avoiding colds and flu.
  • Respondents who considered hand-washing a common practice were twice as likely as those who didn’t care about hand-washing to report better health.
  • Women were 1.6 times more likely than men to frequently wash their hands with soap, and were 1.3 times more likely to report frequent cleaning of home surfaces.
  • People over age of 55 were 1.6 times more likely than younger adults to wash their hands with soap.

Since we are not doctors, and all of our writings are either from personal experience and knowledge, or from after long exploration, we should get to the main point of this article and find out together how to protect ourselves and stay healthy during the most difficult period of the season.

  1. Consume tons of fruits! Fresh fruit not only tastes good but also strengthens your immune system. For example, bananas, apples and grapes provide the necessary vitamin B and energy boosts. Also, instead of coffee, try ginger tea with honey and a slice of lemon.

  1. Stay hydrated! Increasing your intake of water will help you stay healthy and reduce your chances of getting down with flu. Drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever when you’re feeling under the weather, loosens mucus and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence to suggest that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper airway.
  2. Get some fresh air! Breaks are important, and fresh air helps clear your head. Even if it is cold, fresh air keeps your brain on its toes. Take a break, therefore, at least once in the afternoon to regain energy. In addition, the office should also be ventilated on a regular basis because dry, sticky air causes viruses and makes employees tired, which can kill productivity.
  3. Maintain a good hygiene! Good hygiene is necessary for any season. In winter, however, employees should prioritize their hygiene above all else. Wash your hands with plenty of soap and warm water to effectively kill all bacteria and viruses. In addition, employers should provide disinfectant gels in all kitchens and bathrooms.
  4. Take the day off if needed! Nobody benefits when your colleagues cough and sneeze. When a team member is sick and stays at work, they could unintentionally make the entire office sick. Therefore, if you’re feeling sick, stay at home to recover properly.
  5. Have a good diet! Fresh, healthy food is good for the body and the soul, therefore make it a priority. Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So, make sure you get foods that are rich in protein all day long, especially fish, eggs and yogurt.
  6. Avoid close contact! Avoid intimate contact with sick people. Keep your distance from others when you are sick, to protect them from getting sick too.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep!  Sleeplessness can deeply inhibit your immune system. Get a full night’s sleep to keep the natural defenses of your body to optimum efficiency.
  8. Exercise regularly! Regular exercise can not only reduce stress, but research suggests exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep. In a study reported in Sports and Exercise in Medicine and Science, scientists found that modest exercise could prevent elderly people from getting colds and flu.
  9. Do your laundry! Clothing, towels and bedding can be a key culprit in spreading infectious germs and flu, and yes, those favorite stuffed animals fall into this category too. Wash items in the hottest water, and use color-safe bleach to wipe off germs.

Viruses are present throughout the year, but there are ways of preparing for cold and flu season and reducing chances of getting sick. Getting an annual flu vaccine and exercising good hygiene are great ways for one person and others to protect themselves. Some lifestyle and dietary changes that may decrease the likelihood of getting sick include regular exercise, zinc and fiber intake, and a good sleeping schedule.

Obviously, these tips are not universally valid and cannot be considered 100% effective, but if taken into consideration, they can help strengthen a person’s immune system.

It is important to know what our body needs and what we can do to help and protect it. Also, it is our duty to take care of ourselves, to have a healthy lifestyle and not to panic if something really happens. Panic is more and more common among people, sometimes appearing even in moments of uncertainty.

 

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