February 27, 2013
To prevent or help decrease the potential for colds there are many things that one can do. Some of the tips and suggestions are common sense while others may not be.
1. Wash Your Hands. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. The surfaces of an object may have been touched by someone that is sick and there germs may live for hours or even weeks. Wash your hands often or rub an alcohol based hand sanitizer onto your hands.
2. Cover Your Sneeze or Cough with Tissue. Instead of sneezing or coughing into your hand use a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately. This will help prevent your hands from spreading your germs. If there is no tissue available then cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
3. Don’t Touch Your Face. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth. Refrain from touching your face. Children are prone to catching colds and passing them around because of face touching.
4. Drink Plenty of Fluids. Liquids flush your system and help to wash out the poisons. A typical, healthy adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids every day. One can tell if they are getting enough fluids by the color of urine. If the color is close to clear then one is getting enough but if a deep yellow color then one needs to have more fluids.
5. Take a Sauna. A 1989 German study discovered that people who steamed twice a week got half as many colds as those who didn’t. It is not clear why but one theory is that inhaling air hotter than 80 degrees is a temperate that is too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.
6. Regular Aerobic Exercise. Aerobic exercise speeds up the heart to pump larger quantities of blood, increase the respiration rate which transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood, and results in perspiration when the body heats up. These actions helps increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells.
7. Eat Foods with Phytochemicals. “Phyto” means plants and the natural chemicals in them are beneficial and help your immune system. Eat dark green, read, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
8. Eat Yogurt. Some studies indicate that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Researchers think that the bacteria in yogurt may stimulate the production of immune system substances that fend off disease.
9. Don’t Smoke. Studies show that heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequently. Smoke dries out the nasal passages and paralyzes cilia which are necessary to sweep out cold and flu viruses from the nasal passages.
10. Decrease Alcohol Consumption. Heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways. Alcohol also dehydrates the body.
11. Relax. There is evidence that relaxation activities stimulate interlukins that are first responders the body uses to ward off cold and flu viruses. Spending 30 minutes a day doing yoga or meditating can help.