Here are some of the things I’ve tried, many of which are part of my regular routine. You can resist the cold and flu bugs being passed around this winter.
Get enough rest – this is the number one way to stay healthy. You’re body needs to repair and recover from the day and to fight anything you may have been exposed to. Getting run down by burning the candle at both ends is one way that weakens you and prevents your immune system from working. If you don’t have the option of getting sufficient sleep every night, focus on getting more sleep at the first sniffle. And at this time of the year, being in cozy in your bed isn’t a hardship!
Wash your hands with soap – apparently your biggest risk is hands being infected from surfaces and then touching your eyes and your nose. Wash your hands thoroughly in the washroom and get into the habit of not touching your nose and eyes. I know for myself, every time I get on a crowded subway car I immediately want to touch my nose. But I resist so that I avoid giving viruses and easy in [and avoid looking gross!]
Drink a lot of water – this will not only help keep you hydrated and healthy, allowing waste to be carried out of your cells, but if you do happen to be getting sick and there is mucous developing, you won’t feel as awful and stuffed up. For women, the average intake is about 2L and for men, it’s about 3L.
Eat a healthy diet – getting the right nutrients though brightly coloured veggies, good quality starches and grains as well as ample protein is going to give your immune system the building blocks to fight infections and illness. Exposing yourself to the highs and lows of sugar or caffeine crashes can put your body under stress and open you up to attack.
Get your C – there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that vitamin C works to prevent or reduce colds but millions of people take it and find it works. There are a number of ways you can take it. The fizzy liquid form: Emergen-C or EnerC are two brands with 1000 mg of vitamin C. The EsterC is more readily absorbed and usually easier on the stomach. Of course it comes with a bigger price tag but with supplements, you get what you pay for.
Garlic – this one people shy away from but a crushed clove of garlic will blast anything away. My favorite and least challenging way to take it is to crush the garlic, spoon it in and chase it with Pyramid Ferments Gut Shots which is a sauerkraut brine. It seems to neutralize the garlic aftertaste. You’ll want to do this before bed so that you don’t stink up your workplace.
Oil of Oregano – another super effective cold blaster. It very strong tasting and takes some time to get used to.
Echinacea and/or ginseng – I put these together because it’s the combo sold in Cold F/X. It’s not a cheap product but it’s effective. If you’re looking to save a couple of dollars, you can buy a bottle of Siberian Ginseng from the health store as well.
Zinc lozenges – great to dealing with a cough. Another supplement that is not scientifically proven but it couldn’t hurt.
Nasal irrigation – you can use saline spray in your nose or sniff in some warm salt water out of your hand. It clears your nasal passages of dried mucous and keeps your sinuses moist – which is key in keeping viruses from invading. You can also use medicated nasal spray which is a steroid that constricts you’re the blood vessels in your nasal passages. There was a research study that suggested that using medicated nasal spray is effective in preventing colds from flourishing. But it’s one study. And my in my personal experiment, I got a nosebleed after the third spray and tossed it.
Drink chicken broth – why wait to get sick to enjoy the benefits of chicken broth when you are sick? Chicken broth sipped with your lunch or as the main course in a soup can give you the immune boost that you need when fighting the cold.
Even if you end up succumbing to your cold or flu, by taking some of these can help minimize your symptoms so that you’re back on the squat rack quicker.