The summer festival season and the Labour Day Weekend have ended, which signals the kick off of The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
As you head out to the film festival, we want you to enjoy every film and party you’ve signed up for – and we are equally concerned about your good health.
Every September, Toronto gets swept up in TIFF Survival fever and this year, the 41st anniversary of the film festival, is no exception.
Some people are worried about missing out on films and festivities as a result of “festival flu.” This is what you may be in for….so watch out!
- Getting hugs from people you only recognized from Twitter profile photos who are sneezing and sniffling.
- Weariness and lethargy after a late night après party causing you to be just plain run down.
- Festivals bring together thousands of people from locations far flung all over the globe, but the festival flu’s origins are likely nothing more exotic than the common cold.
One study found that over half of upper respiratory infections are caused by rhinovirus, at least in cases where the cause can be established. Rhinovirus is incredibly common: the typical adult spends up to two years over a lifetime with cold symptoms. Influenza is less common, but still present. As a preventative measure, you can get vaccinated against the flu, and it can even help the young, elderly and immunocompromised folks in your life gain herd immunity.
Bacterial infections account for only about 5% of upper respiratory infections. Antibiotics don’t fight viral infections such as rhinovirus or influenza, and are only effective against bacterial infections like strep throat. Prescribing antibiotics for the majority of colds is unnecessary and contributes to the rising prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The germs you’re likely to encounter at the movies are the same ones you’re coming across on public transportation, in the workplace and with friends. The reason you’re more likely to get sick at a festival lies in what’s different in our own behavior when we attend a multi-day event that has a focus on partying.
Sleep has a profound effect on the body’s response to the threat of infection. In one study, researchers found that participants who slept less than six hours a night were four times more likely to develop a cold from exposure to rhinovirus than those who got more than seven hours of shut-eye.
Other studies, which measured how effectively the immune system responded to vaccinations, found that patients who slept well the night before had an increased antibody response. Indeed, a persistent lack of sleep may cause the body’s inflammatory system to overreact to the infection, causing more severe symptoms rather than fighting off an illness.
Planning to hit the bar between films? Alcohol decreases the body’s ability to maintain airway sterility, suppresses the immune system’s protective response and increases complications from infections as the body loses the ability to effectively clear opportunistic pathogens. If you’re also breathing in cigarette smoke, the damage to your airway and lungs can make it easier for incoming pathogens to take hold.
When infectious pathogens, imperfect hygiene, little sleep and substance consumption come together, people can get very ill. Preventative measures for the common cold abound, many with very little clear proven benefit. Ginseng, Vitamin D and Echinacea have not been shown to prevent infection. There is some clinical evidence that Vitamin C reduces the development of illness in response to exposure to cold and physical stress, but not enough data on what that means for someone who isn’t running a marathon or scaling a mountain. On the other hand, there is evidence that Cold-Q™ all-natural oral spray provides immune boosting and antiviral support, which attacks cold and flu viruses at the first sign of symptoms.
With as many as 10 days of long nights, greasy appetizers, cocktails galore, and worst of all, slacking from your fitness routine,The Toronto Film Festival can take a toll on your body But it doesn’t need to be. There are some simple solutions to help support your body, while still taking in all the festival has to offer. Gary Leblanc at Ikkuma suggests these vital tips to help you survive TIFF:
- Managing your sleep: Everyone’s a hero when it comes to sleep – all of a sudden they don’t need any. The reality is that we all need sleep and 10 days without sleep isn’t an option. Sure, maybe you need to be out until 2am and at work by 8am, but you can ‘somewhat’ catch up by sneaking in a 25-35 minute power nap right after work, before your night out. It’s long enough to help you recharge and short enough to avoid grogginess.
- Getting in that elusive workout: Regardless of your existing regimen, aim for a minimum of 4-5 workouts during the festival. If you incorporate some high intensity intervals with efficient weigh training – leveraging supersets – you can easily get in a fantastic workout in 35-40 minutes. You should be able to squeeze these in right after your post-work power nap.
- Avoiding unhealthy eats: Chowing down on those party appetizers is a symptom of a long day of work and no time for dinner before heading out. The trick is to curb your ‘pre-dinner’ cravings without ruining your appetite for a proper meal. Fat, proteins and fiber are the most effective macronutrients for keeping you ‘feeling full’ until dinner. Try a handful of nuts with an apple, or simply eat a stick of celery with almond butter and raisins. Ideally you would have a proper smoothie to get in all your nutrients before another crazy night.
- Maintaining energy levels for those long nights: The wrong answer, for getting that kick you need, is to guzzle cans of artificial energy drinks, which are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, and tons of other crap you don’t want in your body.
Here’s to a healthy week at TIFF. Spray Cold-Q™ at the first sign of cold/flu symptoms, continue until you’re no longer feeling the symptoms. Stay healthy and have fun!
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