Are you familiar with that "oh-no-my-throat-is-scratchy-and-my-head-is-pounding-and-my-eyes-won't-open" feeling that you occasionally wake up to? I'm sure you know the dreaded feeling I'm talking about. When this happens, I know I only have precious time to combat that which I am inevitably facing. A potentially debilitating cold.
When this feeling creeps up, there are indeed preventative measures you can take to stop the symptoms from hitting you full blast (depending on the sickness, of course). Here are some of my tried and true recommendations as well as some professional tips from around the web for keeping that nasty cold at bay.
- Wash Your Hands:
Alright, you're probable saying "duh" right now, but doing your best to remain germ free is definitely the best way to prevent getting sick. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact, and since many germs can live for hours (or even weeks) you put yourself at risk just by touching things like telephones, keyboards and door handles. Wash your hands well and wash often to arm yourself again the army of germs waiting to attack you out there.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids:
The second I feel a cold coming on, I immediately double my fluid intake, specifically water and vitamin C-heavy juices. Water helps to flush out your system and keep you hydrated. It's so good for your health that you should be drinking tons of it (8 glasses a day) anyway. But really amp up the water consumption to combat a cold or flu.
Juice will hydrate you as well, but it will also provide you with much needed vitamins to help boost your immune system.
- Exercise Regularly:
According to WebMD's Cold Guide:
Aerobic exercise speeds up the heart to pump larger quantities of blood; makes you breathe faster to help transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood; and makes you sweat once your body heats up. These exercises help increase the body's natural virus-killing cells.
I've found exercise to be helpful when I feel a cold coming on. A bit of yoga or some biking can usually combat that icky feeling. And it's nice that there's some research behind this!
- Eat Yogurt:
Believe it or not, yogurt is one of the top recommended foods to help you fight off or prevent a cold. According to Dr. Susan Mitchell, Nutrition Expert,
Yogurt with active cultures such as acidophilus can enhance immune function by putting healthy bacteria in the body, especially your gastrointestinal tract where a lot of your immune function happens. Yogurt is especially important if you are taking antibiotics which strip out the bad bacteria and take the good along with it. Yogurt helps replenish those healthy bacteria.
Studies have also shown that eating a cup of low-fat yogurt every day can reduce susceptibility to colds by 25%. So eat up and stop that cold in its tracks.
- Take a Chill Pill:
When I start to get sick, I know that it's usually my body telling me that I'm doing way too much and I need to slow down. And I know that if I don't listen, my body will in turn hit me with some incapacitating cold that will prevent me from doing anything anyway, so I try to listen up as best I can.
There is nothing wrong with relaxing. In fact, relaxation can activate your immune system. Here's what WebMD says:
There's evidence that when you put your relaxation skills into action, your interleukins -- leaders in the immune system response against cold and flu viruses -- increase in the bloodstream. Train yourself to picture an image you find pleasant or calming. Do this 30 minutes a day for several months. Keep in mind, relaxation is a learnable skill, but it is not doing nothing. People who try to relax, but are in fact bored, show no changes in blood chemicals.
This certainly shouldn't give you free reign to sit around and stare at walls all day long, but if you're starting to feel sick, be sure to take a well-deserved chill pill to recharge your immune system.
- Boost Your Vitamin Intake:
Whether you take daily vitamins or get them from your daily diet, make sure not to scrimp on your vitamins and minerals when you feel a cold coming on. Personally, I go for lots of juice, lemon water, fruit and vegetable-heavy meals, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (it's gross, but it works!) twice a day.
Tips for Feeling Better in General
Looking for ways to feel better, in general, from day to day? It doesn't have to be that complicated. Things like laughter and meditation can actually work wonders for your mind, body and spirit. Take a look at these 10 tips from We the Change for feeling better and preventing sickness of any kind.
What are the first steps you take when you start to feel a little under the weather? We'd love to to hear your best ideas in the comments section below. Thanks for being a Tip Hero!
Sources: care2, WebMD
Photo credit: SCA, Milkdoll