The common cold has been a scourge to mankind ever since the first caveboy went out with his hair wet to play, and continues on today despite our fiercest medicinal attempts to halt it. According to estimates, in the United States alone people are afflicted by 1 billion colds every year, with most of those occurring in the chilly Autumn and Winter months. How can you keep from catching one of these dreaded spells, or if you do catch one, how can you fight it? With 1 billion available slots floating around every year, the odds aren’t very good in your favour. Still, here are a few tips, some better known than others, which may help to even those odds just a bit.
It’s important to keep your immune system purring like a kitten, especially during the chillier months. Your immune system, which runs on Vitamin C, is your body’s Defence Department-if it goes down, there’s only a matter of time before the terrorists overrun your country.
Lemons are a wonderful source of Vitamin C, but surprisingly, broccoli contains almost twice the amount of the vitamin found in the same quantity of lemons. Broccoli is also a lot more edible (some experts disagree). Everyone knows that Vitamin C boosts your immune system, but did you know that refined sugar actually competes with Vitamin C for space in your cells? In other words, the more sugar you consume, the less Vitamin C your body can absorb. Just a couple teaspoons of sugar can decrease your body’s resistance by about a quarter of its full capacity for nearly 5 hours! A good chunk of birthday cake can completely wipe out your immune system (100% decrease) for those 5 hours-leaving you completely open for business to the common cold.
Just the simple act of more frequently washing your hands can significantly decrease the risk of catching someone’s cold or flu, or spreading your own. One common misconception is that when you cough or sneeze, you should try to do it into the palm of your hand. The problem is that unless you then immediately drop everything, run to the bathroom and re-sterilize yourself with hand soap and a good dose of running water, the palms of your hands can quite frequently be used for touching many other things. This will then pass on the germs you coughed into your hands onto those other things, completely defeating the purpose. One alternative is to instead cough into your upper arm or shoulder, or simply carry around a handkerchief and be quick on the draw.
And if you do get a cold, don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Get some rest and some extra Vitamin C-you’ll be up and running again in no time!