Four Ways to Prevent and Conquer a Cold

[SlideDeck id=’1317′ width=’100%’ height=’300px’] ‘Tis the season of runny noses! Here’s how to survive the winter germ-free.

1. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

Think of all the things you touch in a day that hundreds of other people also touch: the handrails on the TTC, desks and counters at school or work, elevator buttons in your office or building, bathroom doors, and even the fruit at the supermarket (you’re not the only one picking up and squeezing those avocados!).  All of these things can harbor disgusting germs that will get you sick.  Wash your hands multiple times a day – especially before eating.

2. Get the flu shot.

Even if you didn’t get the shot last year and managed not to catch the flu, it doesn’t mean that you won’t come down with it this year. The shot won’t stop you from potentially getting the sniffles, but it will prevent you getting the flu, which can turn into pneumonia -an illness far more serious than a common cold. The flu shot is recommended even for young, healthy individuals unless you have a serious allergy to eggs.  Check with a registered nurse at these upcoming Toronto clinics before getting your shot.

3. Get lots of sleep.

When you sleep your body rests and your cells regenerate.  At this time, your body kicks into overdrive to beat out potential infections and viruses trying to worm their way into your system.  If you do happen to catch a nasty cold, don’t be a hero. Stay home from work and take a good, long nap.  Your coworkers won’t mind covering your work for the day if it means they won’t catch your infection.

4. Amp up your immune system.

Who hasn’t been told to drink lots of orange juice, or consume as much echinacea as humanly possible when feeling a bit sniffly?  Stella Andreou, pharmacist at Pape Drug Mart, explains that there’s a medical reason behind this advice.  “Both boost your immune system,” she says, which makes it easier to fight off colds and less likely that you’ll even get a cold in the first place.  Vitamin C and echinacea have very different properties, so you do have to be careful how you use them.

Vitamin C is a “water soluble vitamin so you can take it every day,” Andreou explains.  What your body does not absorb or use is simply flushed out of your system, causing no harm to you or your immune system.  Echinacea on the other hand is an “immune system modulator” meaning that you have to be more careful how you take it.  “Excess doses or chronic use can suppress your immune system,” says Andreou.

She advises to take it at the onset of a cold to lessen the duration, or to take it if somebody close to you has a cold and you want to prevent yourself from catching it.  Echinacea shouldn’t be taken for the duration of a cold so if you’re getting sick, eventually you should make the switch to Vitamin C, and orange juice your way out of that cold!

Leave a Reply