Boost Your Body’s Battle Against Winter Bugs: Tips to Beat Colds and Stay Energized!

A new year is beginning, and it’s the perfect time to reflect and set goals for maintaining optimum health. One of the most significant challenges during the colder months is keeping your immune system strong to prevent winter colds. On average, adults experience two to three colds a year, whereas children can have six to 12 colds in the same timeframe. Although there isn’t a cure for the common cold, there are several ways to prevent them and minimize their effects when they occur.

Cold Viruses and Their Transmission

Cold viruses thrive during winter months, possibly due to individuals spending more time indoors in close proximity. The normal reaction of your nose in colder weather increases secretions and fluid, resulting in greater susceptibility to viral attachment. Dry air also contributes to viral droplets dispersing farther and lingering longer. More than 200 common cold viruses can cause a range of symptoms, and these viruses are transmitted through airborne droplets and direct contact with infected secretions. Objects touched by someone with a cold are also risky during the first three days after the onset of symptoms.

Building a Strong Defense Against Colds

How sick you get from a cold depends on the strength of your immune system. Colds that could last seven to ten days can be reduced to only barely detectable symptoms lasting one or two days if your immune system is strong. A diet rich in nutrients and proper physical fitness keep your immune system working optimally. In addition to these measures, you can take some steps to strengthen your defenses further.

Remedies That Work to Fight Colds and Boost Your Immune System:

  1. Extra water and certain fluids: Drink fresh juices, green tea, fruit teas, clear soup broth, and fresh lime/lemon water. Avoid dairy milk, sodas, and alcoholic beverages.
  2. Extra sleep: Allow yourself extra sleep and engage in low-stress activities.
  3. Zinc: Studies have shown that zinc supplements can significantly benefit you when taken correctly. Zinc lozenges or zinc syrup taken within 24 hours of symptom onset cuts the duration and severity of cold symptoms in half. Those who take zinc consistently have cold symptoms that rarely persist beyond seven days.
  4. Vitamin C at a high dose: Take 10,000 mg daily (divided into three doses). Lower doses or consistent long-term high doses do not have the same effect.
  5. Steam: Use an aroma lamp, humidifier, or a spray bottle with aromatic essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus, camphor, and rosemary.
  6. Good mood: Positive feelings enhance your immune system, while stress weakens it.

Less-proven remedies include nasal irrigation, honey consumption, echinacea, and garlic.

Fighting the Symptoms

There are several remedies to alleviate cold symptoms while the virus runs its course:

  1. Sore throat relief: Gargle warm salt water, or take ibuprofen for the first two days, especially to help you sleep.
  2. Saline drops or sprays
  3. Cough syrup: Delsym (pure dextromethorphan) is available over-the-counter and is quite safe, even at double or triple the standard dose if needed.
  4. Antihistamines: They can help dry up a runny nose, reduce itch, and dry up a cough, but use caution, as they can also “lock in” the cough secretions you want to get rid of.

Practicing these tips and putting them into action during the winter season can help you achieve continuous good health and happiness in the new year.