There are several things you can do to give your immune system a jump-start. These are very simple and really require nothing extraordinary at all.
Garlic, ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), astragalus and turmeric are all proven immune boosters. These ancient herbs have been used for thousands of years. All are available as supplements at health food stores. You will get the best benefit when taking these as a supplement in pill form.
Drink OJ, eat a lot of fruit or tomatoes and take Vitamin C supplements!
Hydrate! When someone in the home is sick during the cold months, a humidifier should be used to get more water into the air. Dry air dries up the nasal passages, making you more susceptible to germs taking hold in those dried out mucous membranes. DRINK at least 6 glasses of water (or non-caffeinated tea) daily.. AND use a humidifier (or small bowls of water in front of the heating vents). Think of dust particles flying around. Imagine the dust as germs. When there is more water in the air, those germs/dust particles will stick to the water droplets and fall to the floor, rather than floating all over the house (or into YOUR nose/mouth).
Exercise! Everyone needs to exercise daily, but it’s imperative during cold and flu season not to miss a day! Cardio will kick it up a notch and boost your white cell production (which is great to ward off illness). But 20 minutes a day of any exercise will help keep the germs at bay plus it’s great for your body and mind! *If you are working out in a gym, make sure you sanitize the equipment.
Wash your hands with S O A P and W A T E R. Give your hands a good scrub for at least 15 seconds and rinse your hands well. Use paper towels to dry rather than hand dryers (in public restrooms) and use a clean towel to dry at home. Use a paper towel to turn off the water faucet and open doors in public restrooms. ALWAYS carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you and encourage children to do the same (children that are old enough to carry their own).
Clear your mind by meditating for, at the very least, 20 minutes daily.
Get plenty of sleep! Cells repair themselves when you are asleep.
When out in the cold, wear the appropriate clothing. A hat will help to keep in the heat that will escape from your head in cold weather. (same for gloves!)
Eat some dark chocolate! It’s very high in antioxidants.
Take pro-biotics! Dannon and Yoplait both make wonderful pro-biotic yogurts!
If you do get sick:
Use a neti-pot. Flushing out the nasal membranes and the sinuses will speed recovery. Also, drink a lot of warm chamomile tea. Chamomile works wonders, just like our grandmothers used to tell us! Take Vitamin C and cover your cough/sneeze so that you won’t infect others. **If you don’t have a neti-pot you can flush out your membranes with saltwater and a small glass (like a shot glass). Mix 1/3 teaspoon (non-iodized) table salt with 1 cup lukewarm water (preferably bottled or chlorine free!). Add a pinch of baking soda. Mix until dissolved, pour into small glass. Tilt your head back slightly and to the right. Slowly pour half the water into your left nostril. If your nostril is not stuffed, the water will flow out of your right nostril. If it is stuffed, it’ll flow down your throat. Don’t swallow…spit it out. Repeat for the other nostril.
Get Steamed! Take a steamy shower or sit in a steamy bathroom with the shower running for 15-20 minutes. Or, sit with your head over a steamy bowl of hot water. Preferably filled with herbs but not required.
Did you know that antihistamines can actually thicken up and dry mucous? So if your sinuses are the issue, you may want to pass on the antihistamine and just stick with decongestants which will help with the pressure and aid in drainage.
Colds can last from 4-14 days. How you treat your body make all the difference!