The common cold is the most frequent disease contracted by humans, but it’s really hundreds of different diseases with similar symptoms. The so-called common cold can actually be caused by any one of over 200 viruses, which means the best way to combat a cold is to strengthen your body’s natural defenses.
Everyone seems to have their own home remedies to treat and prevent colds. But which of these really work, and which are wishful thinking? Believe it or not, there are some simple things you can do to avoid suffering from sneezing, runny nose, coughs, sore throats, and headaches. Here are seven things you can do to keep from catching a cold this winter.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in strengthening your immune system. Production of important immune system cells like T cells and cytokines are at their highest during deep sleep. Even more importantly, the European Journal of Physiology reports that there are indications that sleep is vital to immunological memory— your immune system’s ability to produce antibodies against specific diseases you’ve encountered during the day.
Your body likes predictability, so one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting plenty of good sleep is to set a bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time each night, try to avoid screentime before bed, and make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature.
Drink Plenty of Water
Winter air can get really dry, and you’re likely becoming dehydrated without even realizing it. All of our body’s systems require water to function properly. If you’re not drinking enough, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your body, and your immune system won’t function as well as it should.
Don’t drink just any liquid, though. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and will only make dehydration worse. And you definitely don’t want sugary drinks— we’ll talk about that in a minute. If it’s too cold to drink plain water, try some decaffeinated herbal tea. As a bonus, the warmth of hot tea can help to ease any congestion you may be feeling if you’re fighting off early cold symptoms.
Wash Your Hands
The viruses that can cause a cold are are extremely infectious and can be spread through the air or physical contact. But they are most likely to enter your body when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. So one of the best ways to avoid catching a cold is not to give them that chance. Here are a few things you can do to keep those viruses from getting in:
Wash your hands frequently. This doesn’t mean just running them under water. Check out this tutorial video from the CDC to learn the most effective way to wash your hands.
Don’t touch your face. This includes rubbing your eyes, picking your nose, and biting your nails. These may seem like harmless habits, but they give viruses a free ride into your body.
Use your own pen. Disinfect your pen with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, and don’t let others borrow it.
Avoid touching things in public spaces. Water fountains, handrails, and doorknobs are all covered with viruses from the countless people who have passed through before you. If you have to use these, consider using a tissue or paper towel.
Eat Healthy Foods
One of the best things you can do for your immune system (and the rest of your body) is to feed it the proper nutrients. High-sugar diets reduce your white blood cells’ ability to fight off infections.
Instead of a high-sugar, high-fat diet, try to eat foods high in lean protein and phytonutrients— a type of nutrient found in plant-based foods that’s vital to helping your body fight off disease.
A good rule of thumb to identify foods rich in phytonutrients is to eat a variety of colors. The vibrant reds, yellows, oranges, greens, and pinks in your favorite fruits and vegetables are frequently caused by the presence of different phytonutrients.
We’ve already mentioned that alcohol is a diuretic and can cause you to become dehydrated. But alcohol can cause other problems, as well. Alcohol consumption impairs your immune system’s responses to viruses and other invaders.
Even more concerning, a National Institutes of Health study reports that excessive alcoholic consumption may actually cause your immune system to turn on itself and attack your own body tissues.
Get Some Exercise
Aerobic exercise is any exercise that gets your heart beating quickly for extended periods of time. Jogging, cycling, and swimming are all great examples. This kind of exercise increases blood flow throughout your body and helps to circulate the white blood cells that form the core of your immune system.
A University of Illinois study indicates that a leisurely jog or brisk walk is enough to stimulate the immune system. Don’t overdo it if you’re starting to feel cold symptoms, though. The same study suggested that extreme exertion from high-intensity exercise can actually temporarily suppress the immune system. When you’re feeling healthy, this isn’t a big deal. But if you’re fighting off the beginning of a cold, an overly intense workout could give those viruses the chance they’ve been looking for.
So get off the couch and get some exercise, but listen to your body.
Consider Vitamin Injections
Because the common cold is caused by so many hundreds of different viruses, it’s difficult for medical science to combat them directly. There are just too many of them. But there are natural ways we at Tru Health can help you to support your immune system as it does the important work of fighting off the infectious agents you encounter every day.
We’ve already mentioned eating a healthy diet, but sometimes you’re just not able to get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs from food alone. That’s where we come in. Tru Health offers a variety of injections that provide your body with doses of the vitamins it may need to strengthen the immune system and make you feel healthier and stronger.
Our Immune Booster injections include Vitamin B12, B Complex, and Vitamin C, all of which may help to prevent colds or to shorten the duration of symptoms if you do catch one.
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