The average adult gets three colds per year, each lasting an average of nine days, says Jane Sadler MD, A family physician at Baylor-Garlad Hospital in Texas. While basic prevention measures (like hand washing) are helpful, there’s something much more powerful you can do to keep the common cold or seasonal flu at bay. Simply eating a balanced diet and keeping a consistent fitness routine can dramatically make your immune system stronger and keep the cold away. So you’ve taken care of yourself, but still you’ve caught a bug. Here’s how to protect yourself and stop a cold before it takes hold and feel better in 24 hours.
Keeping hands clean is your first line of defense to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. But you already knew that so keep reading.
As soon as you feel symptoms of cold, start drinking warm water or fresh, home-made orange or vegetable juice. Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose. Recent research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables might help prevent and shorten the common cold.
If you are having a scratchy throat add one teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle three times a day. This works like magic. I do it more than three times a day and it has never failed me. The salt draws out excess water in your throat’s tissues, reducing the inflammation, and clears mucous and irritants from the back of the throat. The rinse also flushes out bacteria and viruses, which may help whether you’re getting a cold or want to prevent one in the first place.
Skip the cough medicine. Good old honey works just as well (and tastes better!) Mix one tablespoons into your tea or warm water with a squeeze of a fresh lemon or lime juice, stir well and enjoy.
People who exercise regularly are less likely to get a cold, researchers say. A study of 1,000 people found that staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses and, failing that, made the infection less severe. I recommend a light workout to boost your immune system. The rule of thumb is to do 50% of your regular workout routine. Keep your heart rate under 120 beats/min.
Since colds are believed to be caused by viral infections in the upper respiratory tract, research has suggested the ingredients in the soup slows white blood cells from gathering in the lungs, therefore slowing the progress of irritating side effects, like coughing, sneezing, and a stuffy, runny nose.
It’s important to make a trip to the nearest drug store and get some of the following supplements to help you prevent getting the awful cold in the first place. I take Zinc, Vitamin C, D and probiotics on regular basis and the rest of them only when I feel I am coming down with something. They work like a charm for me. Try to take them as soon as you start feeling a tickle in your throat and continue for up to 3-4 days even after your cold symptoms disappear.
Last but not least get lost of sleep and rest. A new study suggests that people who lose just a bit of sleep, or those who have poor quality sleep, are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a cold virus than those who get more shut-eye. “People who slept less than seven hours were about three times more likely to get a cold than people who slept eight hours or more a night,” says Sheldon Cohen, psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
If you feel worse or have a fever, start vomiting, or develop an increasingly bad headache, call your doctor—these are signs you’ve got something other than the common cold (such as flu or an infection), and you may need antiviral medication, antibiotics, or other treatment. Otherwise, keep up the routine for the next few days, just to be sure you kick that cold for good.