As some like to say, it’s cold season. And while it’s the close physical proximity of people rather than the temperature outside that causes illness, it nevertheless is the time of year we start to get sick. That said, it’s good gear up with some natural, safe, and commonsensical tips for beating the cold – if you get it, or when you get it.
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5 for Defense
“Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Cliché? We think not. Preparation is crucial in doing anything correctly, whether it's tackling an assignment at work or beating back germs. That said, the best way to not get a cold is to work hard on your defense.
Number 1. Hygiene
Easy enough – wash your hands. No, seriously, wash your hands! This is perhaps the most vital defense for colds. Because the majority of cold and flu viruses are transmitted person-to-person, your best bet is to make sure your own hands are clean. Wash them for 20-30 seconds under hot water with soap. Be sure to get both sides of the hands, too. Rinsing really doesn't effectively clean, so don't try to fool yourself.
Number 2. Strengthen your Immune System
Always be sure that – whether you’re sick or not – you’re eating healthy foods with a variety of natural colors (those correspond to different nutrients). Secondly, always avoid drinking heavily and smoking. These aren’t bad “once in a while” in moderation (don’t ever drink a full six-pack or smoke an entire box – it’s just overkill).
Number 3. Catch those ZZZ’s
A good way to make sure you are protecting yourself from infection is to always get enough sleep. Sleep is a crucial time for our bodies. While our minds don’t need to process new and unfamiliar information, the body uses that time to focus on fighting off those infections. That means that getting plenty of rest will give your body ample time to police its cells, even before you’re sick.
Number 4. Get some Exercise
Like avoiding smoking and making sure you're eating right, exercising helps strengthen the immune system. On top of that, it will give you time to breathe in fresh air, stretch your muscles, and make your overall state of health higher than it was before.
Number 5. Quarantine
When you’re sick, don’t go to work or go out or share things with friends. If you do this, you increase the risk of spreading disease that may come back around and make you sick again. Also, it’s just common courtesy.
5 for Offense
As Aaron Glatt, president and CEO of New Island Hospital in New York and a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says, “you're going to get a cold anyway—it's a question of how many.” This quote tells us two things: we can change the frequency of sickness, but without a doubt, we will get sick in life. That means we need the defense discussed above and a strong offense.
Number 6. Liquids
I think liquids should go right up on top because, from personal experience, is has some serious potential. Last time I got sick, I had a few bowls of miso soup, about seven cups of tea, and many, many glasses of water. Amazingly, this flushed my system out in a day. While it took about two days to fully recover, I felt better the next morning.
Here, the logic is plain: the body uses liquid as a medium to flush out our system. The more we flush, the better functioning and cleaner it will be. That said, drink up!
Number 7. Cut out the Sins
Some of these were discussed above, but should be reiterated. First, quit smoking (at least while you’re sick). This will worsen that sore throat of yours and is overall unhealthy anyways. Smoking also correlates with harsher, longer sicknesses. Secondly, don’t go out and party when you’re ill; it exposes germs to others, it isn’t good for your immune system that is already stressed, and doesn’t conserve the energy your body needs.
Number 8. Steam Power!
If you find yourself with a mucusy sore throat or stuffed nose, try sitting/standing above a boiling pot of water and breathing in the steam (or, if possible, go to a sauna). Most germs can’t live past high temperatures, and the steam also breaks up mucus. Plus, it’s very therapeutic. This makes steaming a great option for all sick people.
*Remember to be careful. You don’t want to feint or lose focus when over a pot of boiling water! If you’re a parent, just hold the little one and stay alert.
Number 9. Rest Up and De-stress
If you’ve gotten sick, try to add a few hours each night to sleep. This, like discussed above, gives your body the opportunity to recoup from the day’s wear and tear and protect your cells. Similarly, make sure you’re relaxing enough. Stress increases our propensity to getting ill and is overall bad for us. That said, combine this with the above tip: go on a weekday vacation to a spa with a sauna!
Number 10. Exercise, Take Vitamins – Maybe
Some data suggests exercising will help you feel better quicker, but don't exert yourself too much. The facts are blurry with this, and some argue that exercising will take away from getting better because your body will have to focus on rebuilding muscle rather than fighting infections.
The second “iffy” here is vitamins. It probably won’t hurt to take some daily vitamins, but your diet should always cover your nutrients. If you do end up taking a vitamin C supplement or a one-a-day, then be sure to remain hydrated (which you should always do anyways).
Beat that Cold
Employ the defense, ready the offense, and beat that cold. Hopefully, a full and committed run down of this list will not only better your chances at beating the cold, but also better your overall state of health!
Any success stories out there? Secret home remedies you’d like to share? Please comment below!