Now that the fall is upon us, many of us are already developing sniffles, runny noses, dry coughs, and other symptoms associated with the common cold. While we all know that we can succumb to viruses at any time of the year, the colder weather undeniably brings about a greater frequency of these symptoms for many of us, leading to time off work, inability to participate in activities with family and friends, and maybe even prolonged periods of time in bed as we suffer from fatigue and achiness in various parts of our bodies.
Let’s look at some of the best self-help ways to avoid and fight the common cold…
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Of course, we’d all rather avoid getting sick in the first place. There are so many ways to contract the common cold virus that it seems we must simply take our chances. But by understanding the ways that germs are transported, transferred, and contracted, we can take numerous steps to help safeguard ourselves and our family members from cold symptoms.
Wash Your Hands Often
We come into contact with about 60,000 germs on a daily basis, but only about 2% of them pose a threat to people with normal, healthy immune systems. Most of us also touch potentially hundreds of different surfaces on a daily basis. This gives that 2% a very real fighting chance against us and reduces our odds of staying healthy.
Keep Household Surfaces Clean
In our homes, we have greater control over the surfaces we touch as we can ensure that we regularly clean our tabletops, countertops, and floors. Of course, some cleaners can be caustic and have been shown to be unhealthy for infants, small children, and pets who spend quite a bit of time with their faces close to the floor. Recent studies have shown that white vinegar is just as effective at killing germs as brand-name cleaners. Lemon and lime juice also works particularly well, with the added bonus of deterring bugs who are looking for a warm haven out of the cold.
Wash Children’s Toys
Kids are curious by nature and spend their early formative years exploring their world, touching everything around them. What’s more, your kids interact with a lot of other kids, often in conditions that may be less than sanitary. At school they share drinking fountains, touch countless door knobs and handles, and surfaces. Kids share toys with their friends – the youngest of them seem unable to resist attempting to put things in their mouths, significantly increasing their likeliness of getting sick.
Just as you should keep your household surfaces clean, you must also take care to regularly clean your kids’ toys with a mild detergent. Avoid chemical cleaners, as these can irritate little ones’ eyes and skin.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Of course, once we are outside, our ability to reduce the number of surfaces we come into contact with is largely out of our control. Most of us will have to open a door or drawer that has been handled by others. We will need to take a transfer from a bus driver. Or receive change at the local coffee shop that has passed through who knows how many other people’s hands and homes.
Mostly, when we touch our faces, it is an unconscious action – we rub our eyes, brush hair out of our line of sight, and prop our chins up with our palms. The problem with this is that our eyes, mouth, nostrils, and ears are each extremely convenient ingress points for germs to enter our bodies. This is why it is imperative that we avoid touching our faces as much as possible. Yes, at home as well, but especially out in public.
Don’t Smoke or Vape
While these bad habits only seem to earn worse and worse reputations as medical science reveals more and more about how harmful they can be to our bodies, they are particularly conducive to helping germs infect us. When we smoke any substance, the cilia in our trachea and lungs lie down and are unable to perform one of their primary functions – capturing and killing germs as they attempt to enter our respiratory systems.
There are all kinds of reasons to not smoke, not developing respiratory complications and cancer, to say the least. But not smoking can also bolster our health in the short term, helping us block airborne infections that contribute to the common cold.
Avoid Sick People or Help Them Keep Their Surroundings Sanitary
This one can be hard. Whether we go to work or school, there will always be those around us that feel the pressure to not stay home in bed and rest. What’s more, we are most contagious before we become symptomatic, meaning that our peers can transfer their germs to us without even realizing that they’re putting us at risk.
It can be equally tough to avoid a sick family member. Without ostracizing them, keep them out of physical contact with others. Burn a little sage to destroy 95% of airborne pathogens. Ensure that their cutlery, plates, and glasses are sanitized immediately following use. And don’t leave tissues they’ve used lying around. For quicker results, take on their chores and help them get plenty of uninterrupted rest.
Fighting the Common Cold
Once we have become ill, it is essential that we maintain the sort of preventative regimen described above, for our own sake and others’. But we can take even further measures to help our bodies fight infection, returning us to wellbeing as quickly as possible…
Reach for that blanket. Curl up close to the fireplace. Light some candles. Or hold a hot water bottle or electric heating pad close to your abdomen, warming your blood and internal organs. When we get cold, our blood vessels constrict and our blood becomes thick, reducing the effective functioning of our circulatory systems. During this process, our blood actually moves away from the surface of our skin in an effort to keep our vital organs warm.
When we actively warm ourselves up, we also encourage the functioning of our lymphatic systems, filtering toxins and diseases from our bodies, and keeping our white blood cells on the attack for invading pathogens.
Benefit From Superfoods
One of the best ways to help your body fight infections is to nourish your digestive system with foods that naturally boost your immune system. Let’s look at a few key ones that will aid you on the road to recovery – and taste great too!
Tea – Full of antioxidants and amino acids, tea also keeps you hydrated, opening lymph nodes and helping to move fluids through your lymphatic systems as it works to combat infections.
Mushrooms – Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms in particular increase the productivity of white blood cells, which work tirelessly in our bodies to hunt and destroy germs.
Citrus Fruit – Vitamin C is a major immune-system helper that also boosts our white blood cell count.
Pumpkin Seeds – A powerful source of protein and an ideal on-the-go snack, pumpkin seeds are also a prime source of zinc which is essential to the healthy functioning of our immune system.
Garlic – Chock-full of immune-boosting nutrients that encourage the production of white blood cells, garlic also helps fight stress and fatigue that weaken our immune systems.
Greek Yogurt – A wonderful source of probiotics, yogurt is one of the most effective foods for encouraging a well-functioning immune system. Tip: Take this to the next level by picking up a probiotic vitamin supplement at your local drug store.
Raw Ginger – Incorporate ginger into yogurt smoothies, hot tea, and healthy meals to help reduce inflammation, nausea, and bring relief to sore throats and muscles.
Have you tried everything recommended above and are still seeking relief from seasonal cold symptoms? The good news is that there is a range of therapies available to you that can help promote the proper functioning of your respiratory and lymphatic systems and can bring relief to your musculoskeletal system in order to relieve your symptoms and return you to a state of whole-body wellness.
Let’s look at a few…
A trained naturopath has a background in both traditional and alternative therapies. The approach behind all naturopathic therapies is based on the idea that given the proper conditions, the body’s systems can be optimized and made to focus upon healing. In this way – unlike doctors who exclusively practice traditional medicine – naturopaths are less concerned with treating their patients’ symptoms and instead are more directed towards addressing root causes.
By combining traditional approaches and diagnostic protocol with an array of natural therapies like herbal medicine, nutritional coaching, exercise, and more, Naturopaths help your body heal itself. They may prescribe a diet including many of the foods discussed above, and might even recommend other therapies such as massage, or even acupuncture as an alternative for patients who either cannot take traditional medicines, or are simply looking for more natural alternatives.
Massage therapy can be a great way of encouraging the body’s natural tendency to maintain a healthy body temperature. By gently working your muscle tissue and fascia, a qualified massage therapy can restore your circulation through a transfer of kinetic energy both into and throughout your body.
Other than restoring range of motion to your musculoskeletal system, massage therapy also stimulates your lymphatic nodes, promoting the flushing of toxins and disease-borne pathogens out of the body. A qualified massage therapist can address your symptoms, targeting the areas that are hurting and causing you difficulty. As musculo-fascial tension is eased, patients often report breathing more easily through their cold symptoms, as their respiratory system is once again permitted to operate at greater efficiency.
Sometimes the worst symptom of a cold can be the overall, full-body stiffness and achiness that can accompany it. This type of symptom can be incredibly debilitating, making even the simplest of physical tasks seem difficult and exhausting. But a qualified chiropractor can help bring you relief.
Typically, we think of chiropractic therapy as a treatment intended to relieve pain associated with repetitive strain or muscle adhesions and subluxations resulting from physical injuries, but this type of treatment can be very effective at providing relief to muscle, back, and neck pain no matter the root cause. Aside from easing aches, pains, and muscle knots, chiropractic therapy has also been demonstrated to help the flow and functioning of both the lymphatic and circulatory systems – both critical bodily processes that aid our bodies’ natural defences in fighting disease, swollen glands, and infection. Many patients who have experienced chronic illness over time find that chiropractic medicine not only relieves their symptoms but returns them to a state of wellness that they have not been able to appreciate for years.
Are you concerned about colder weather bringing on cold-like symptoms? Hopefully, it’s just a cold and not full-blown flu. Practice the recommendations in this article to safeguard the health of you and your family as precautionary, preventative measures. Should the worst come to pass and you or your loved ones are experiencing debilitating cold symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, our professional services are here to help. Contact us today to consult with our qualified healthcare practitioners today and get relief fast.