Written by Jackie ‘Lynn’ Stevenson, DTR
Since I can remember, I have always gotten either a cold or long term bronchitis every winter. I began to accept the fact that I would need to muddle through the winter with varying degrees of symptoms, more of a nuisance than a serious health concern. Runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, general yucky feeling. This is winter in Connecticut. Miserable.
We’re talking about several months of my life every year, it’s not okay to muddle for that long. Staying healthy before and during a cold can ward off the bugs or shorten the duration of symptoms if you do get it. It’s important to eat healthy and keep your immune system primed for attack before a bug appears.
Proper nutrition and exercise: Keeping your body in good health year round is just sound advice, seeing as bacterial infections aren’t seasonal (I had a cold on the Fourth of July once, bummer). Feeding your immune system allows it to function the way it is supposed to, rewarding you with bacteria fighting power. You will be able to run circles around your friends and co-workers while they creep through cold season. Pack your diet with a good range of vitamins and minerals, vitamins C and D are very especially helpful to immune function. Making sure that you are getting probiotics in your diet whether through fermented foods or a supplement help supports the immune system also. Drink lots of water. You need it to function on a cellular level, stay hydrated. Get help with an optimal diet from Bordeaux Nutrition® LLC.
Proper hygiene: Germs are everywhere, but don’t freak out. Washing your hands regularly should keep you safe from germs on high traffic surfaces. Remember, 20 seconds of scrubbing your hands with soap and hot water is needed to kill germs. Make sure to clean surfaces that get touched a lot like door knobs, key boards, cell phones, etc, to reduce contact with germs.
Finally, I know its not always possible, but stay away from people that are sick. Don’t lock yourself in isolation all winter, but if you know a friend is getting over a cold, wait to visit them for another week to avoid getting it. If you do get sick, do the general public a favor by staying home until you’re no longer contagious.
What to do if you get a cold: Everyone has different remedies they swear by. I sometimes go for over the counter cold products, but only once I’ve given up on life completely. When I don’t give in to drugs, I try the natural remedies. Number one would be to make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids. Hot or cold, extra moisture helps loosen up stubborn mucus and helps clear an infection faster. Hot liquids are best because it seems to melt the sickness away. Hot tea or even hot water with honey and lemon is a great option. Bone broth is a great immune booster, adds to your overall fluid intake, and tastes really good when you’re sick. Herbal remedies like green tea and ecinachea may also help, but shouldn’t be a substitute for good nutrition.
If you think you’re getting better, great, but you may not have evicted that bug just yet. Don’t let your guard down. Keep fluids up, keep up your diet and vitamin regimen and get plenty of sleep.
What are your favorite cold remedies?