Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Cold season is upon us and there will be the inevitable sniffles, sneezes and coughs. Every year it happens and no matter how vigilant you are or how many healthy habits you employ, it shows up anyway with reckless abandon. I am determined to beat it this year so I have searched far and wide for the best preventions and cures possible. Here’s wishing a cold-free Christmas for you and your family!
An ounce of prevention…
Basically once the cold virus has infected someone, it will then go everywhere. The virus is expelled into the air through sneezes and coughs, then from your hands onto any surface that you touch. The first three days of the illness is the key time to avoid anyone who is sick. But considering you have to go out into the world and actually touch things, this may seem an impossible task. It turns out that the antibacterial hand gel that is everywhere these days is not really sufficient at killing the cold and flu virus. So how on earth do you protect yourself and your family during cold and flu season?
Number one, and most important, is to wash your hands several times daily. Whether this sounds like basic common sense, or if multiple hand washes sound a bit phobic—it will help to save you from catching the virus. This is important if you’ve gone to public places like restaurants or grocery stores, especially if you’ve come into direct or close contact of someone with a cold. Make sure to use lots of soap and a good rule of thumb is to wash your hands as long as it takes to sing the ‘happy birthday’ song twice in your head. Also be sure to keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes so as not to spread germs.
Secondly, daily doses of Vitamin C do help (whether supplements or fresh juices) but only as prevention; they are pretty ineffective with the aftermath. Wrapping your neck, feet and hands properly before going out into cold or windy weather is a must. Kids pick up colds at school and bring them home, so again, hand washing habits are important for them to learn as well. Wipe down or wash toys and kitchen surfaces. Use gingerroot in cooking or tea as an extra preventative measure.
I feel a cold coming on…
We all know that dreaded first sneeze or sore throat that starts to sneak up on you. Most of the supplements on the market really tend to stress the idea that you need to take their product at the absolute first sign of something in order to be effective. I dread having to take over-the-counter cold medicine, which isn’t great for you to begin with, and usually leaves you in a “fog.” But there are many natural choices out there helpful in eradicating the cold. Whether natural or prescription, do it quickly—before the beast takes up “residence” in your lungs, turning into dreaded chest cold.
To avoid a Christmas meltdown, Oscillococcinum is a great homeopathic remedy that is useful for both cold and flu. ProBoost mimics the hormone that regulates the immune system, in effect giving your immune system the boost that it needs to knock out a cold. It is important to keep products like these on hand so that you have them the minute you feel sick.
I already have a cold – and I’m miserable!
So you haven’t taken precautions and you got sick anyway? How do you deal with it now that it’s here? There are plenty of things in the cold and flu aisle at the drug store but my goal is to find natural ways to help you get through it. Most importantly you must hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. I can’t stress enough that your body needs fluid to move the virus through more quickly.
Gingerroot is a lifesaver when it comes to colds. It contains fabulous anti-inflammatory properties that help with a sore throat—it also kills the rhinoviruses that caused you to be sick in the first place. Take fresh grated ginger root and put into a tea strainer and pour boiling water over it. Drink 3 cups a day to reap the therapeutic benefits.
Eucalyptus oil is a great way to get that stuffy nose breathing freely. Fill your sink with hot water and drop 3 to 4 drops of the oil into the water. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the vapors. This will clear your sinuses in a jiffy.
Chicken soup does help cure the common cold; research has shown that it actually contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being able to thin mucus. Whether fresh or canned, stock up to get better quickly!
I think the real advantage that you have over the viruses this year is that you know your body best. Pay attention to any symptoms that you are having so you can treat them as soon as possible. Washing your hands and breaking the habit of touching your face will help squash the spread of the virus. If all else fails and you get sick anyway, take care of yourself with natural remedies as much as possible. Your body will thank you!