Fighting Colds Before You’re Sick

While seeking natural approaches and remedies for colds, flu, and various viruses, it’s always good to begin with simple prevention techniques.

Hand sanitizers have their place, but nothing works more effectively than simply washing with warm water and soap. Technique is important. Be sure you pull up your sleeves and wash all the way up to your wrists, especially if you routinely find yourself leaning with your chin on you hand. Wash thoroughly, scrubbing also between your fingers. Try to avoid touching your face, especially around nose, mouth and eyes as those are gateways for germs. When working or living in close quarters with those who are ill, try to wash your face when you wash your hands, even if that means carrying a moisturizer with you.

If you work in a place where co-workers or fellow students seem to always be sick, you might think about carrying WetWipes or a similar product and take it upon yourself to do a simple wipe of doorknobs, keyboards, telephone receivers, bannisters or handrails, elevator buttons, touch screens, or other surfaces which multiple people are handling daily. That practice can sometimes break the cycle of viruses making the rounds. Be sure to do that around your house whenever someone is ill too, and don’t forget steering wheel and gearshift if you share a vehicle. We don’t want to become germaphobes, but easy steps like these can reduce communicability dramatically.

Simple saline nasal spray (Ocean is the name-brand) is also a mechanical preventive if used regularly throughout the day. Saline sprays restore moisture to dry nasal passages, lessen inflammation, and wash out bacteria and pollens. I prefer the spray to a neti pot as it is more portable and works as a simple wash rather than carrying surface germs deeper into the nasal passages and sinuses. If you do use a neti pot, be sure you are sterilizing it and using distilled water, not tap water.

Prevention also includes a basic healthy lifestyle, including healthy diet with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and enough sleep. A well-fed, fit, well-rested body is better equipped to fight off viruses and even many bacterial infections. A good quality food source vitamin/mineral supplement is an excellent support to immune function. Garlic, vitamin C, and probiotics have all been shown to boost human immune systems as well, whether consumed as foods or in the form of supplements. And those prone to frequent upper respiratory illness might benefit from taking Astragalus, a proven immune-supportive herb, during cold and flu system.

But even the healthiest among us can’t avoid every single pesky virus around! So if you feel yourself “coming down with something”, what next? Check back next week for how to deal with colds naturally.