Many times before a cold takes hold, you have some warning signs that tell you it is coming. By paying attention to your body, and being proactive, it is possible to get rid of the cold before it takes full force. But in order for this to happen you should make it a point to keep a few things on hand at all times to help prevent colds from attacking your immune system.
Vitamins and Nutrients
One of the most important things to keep on hand are good vitamins and nutrients to supplement your daily intake, and to give an additional boost when you are starting to get a cold. One fo the best ways to get these vitamins and nutrients are through your diet. Eating foods rich in vitamin c and potassium can help to fight off colds before they ever have a chance to take effect in your body. This can be as simple as eating an orange or drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning. Or eating a banana for a snack. This way you will have ample vitamin C and potassium to boost your immune system, making it possible to fight off and even prevent the common cold.
One of the most important things is to wash your hands regularly with warm water and antibacterial soap. Especially if you are working in a busy office during cold and flu season. Make it a point to wash your hands several times a day, especially before eating anything. This will reduce the amount of germs you spread, and the amount of germs on your hand that can contaminate the food and drink you are about to consume. It is also helpful to use something like an antibacterial cleaner to wipe down common surfaces, like doorknobs, countertops, and tables. They even come in handy purse and pocket sized containers so you can wipe things down at your office when you catch wind of a cold bug making its way through the office.
Many illnesses begin in the gut. If you have poor gut health, your body will have a harder time to fight of illnesses, and you will often feel sluggish. You can simply take a probiotic daily to help prevent these illnesses from occurring. Probiotics come in many forms. Some come in foods you can consume, like kefir or other fermented foods. Other probiotics can come in a pill form and can be taken daily with a drink of water or juice. Or if you prefer not to take a pill, there are powder probiotics which can easily be mixed into a cup of yogurt or cottage cheese. They mix in easily and do not have any taste so you do not even notice you are taking them. It makes them great for giving to kids or people who are picky about taking medication or supplements of any kind. Taking an additional dose of probiotics when a tummy bug strikes can help to fight it off quicker.
Keep Your Fluid Intake Up
There are a number of reasons why they say to drink eight glasses of water a day. One of the main reasons is to help ensure your body is getting enough fluids to function properly. If you do not like to drink water consider finding other ways to get it into your diet. Add some fruit puree to the water to give it some flavor, or a squeeze of citrus juice to provide a little bit of flavor. Drinking a herbal tea, that does not have caffeine is another way to get water into your body. However, beverages like soda pop, coffee, and black tea actually can dehydrate you instead of hydrating your body. Juice, broths, and fruits and vegetable with high water content is another way to ensure you get enough fluid in your body. Cucumbers and watermelon are just a couple of examples. You can even take them and put them in a pitcher of water to infuse it and give a flavor to your drink.
Eat a Light Meal
If you are starting to feel a little under the weather, make it a point to still eat, but go for a light but nutrient rich meal. Consider a soup which will provide you with a nutrient rich broth, some protein from the meat or beans, and a few carbohydrates to provide energy. For breakfast consider a bowl of probiotic rich yogurt, vitamin c rich berries, and a slice of toast. Need an afternoon snack, consider a banana which will give you a boost of potassium. When starting to feel under the weather, it may be tempting to stop eating, but this is the worst thing you can do. If your body does not have the nutrients it needs, then it cannot fight off any illness you may encounter, and might actually cause the illness to be prolonged further.
Another common supplement used to help fight off colds before they take hold is echinacea. You can take it in a number of different forms. Taking a couple of capsules a day during cold and flu season can help to fight off illness. Or putting a couple of drops in your morning cup of tea or a warm cup of water is an option. Herbal teas with echinacea are another option. Drinking a cup at night before bed can help to fight off a cold, soothe a sore throat, and also help you to relax before going to sleep. Consider drinking it with a couple spoonfuls of honey and a squeeze of lemon for an added immunity boost. If looking to drink it at night, you can also look for a tea with chamomile in it as well for additional help getting to sleep.
There are a number of things which can affect the sinuses from working efficiently. Some of these are found naturally in the air we breath in and cannot be avoided. Keeping the sinuses free from this debris and excess mucus can make it easier to breath. One of the easiest ways to clear the sinuses is to use a neti pot to flush the sinuses daily. There are a number of products which have additional ingredients added to them, but these are not necessary. A simple saline solution is all that is needed to keep the sinuses flushed from debris and extra mucus. It is not habit forming, and it is safe to use without worrying about it interacting with other medications. It is safe enough to even use daily, or multiple times a day when a cold does strike.
The best way to prevent a cold from taking hold is to get adequate amounts of sleep every night. When fighting off a cold, it is even more important to make sure you get eight hours of sleep at night. Sleep is when your body is able to repair itself and heal. If you do not sleep regularly, your body will continue to fall behind in its ability to repair itself, making you more prone to illness. There is a temptation to take an additional nap when you are sick or trying to fight off a cold. A short nap is a viable option, but do not oversleep. Napping too much can interrupt your ability to sleep at night, making you feel more tired the next day, and reducing the ability of your body to fight of illnesses.
Tylenol and Motrin
If you start to get body aches and pains, and suspect they may be the precursor to a common cold, consider taking a dose of pain killer or fever reducer. It can help to keep you body from increasing in pain, allow you to relax, and sleep at night. This is particularly important for your body to be able to fight off a cold and keeping your immune system going strong. However, do not take the relief from the medication to mean you should then go full force. Doing so takes the energy away from your immune system and to the rest of your body, making it harder for you to fight off the pending illness.
See the Doctor
The best treatment for a cold is prevention. There are times though that a cold is not preventable. Taking the time to relax and not exert too much energy can help. Using the previously mentioned remedies can also help to speed up the duration or fight of the common cold. If you do get a cold, and you have not responded well to many home remedies, you might have some other infection that has taken over your body. Only a doctor is able to tell you with certainty, but if you are fighting off a virus, just know that you will still need to let the illness take its course since they will not respond to antibiotics like a bacterial infection would. But do not be surprised if your doctor sends you home to wait it out and not give you an antibiotic to treat a viral illness.