Cutting the Common Cold

As the temperature drops, the common cold spreads like wildfire around schools, offices, and homes across the country. While we come in contact with cold viruses everyday, our immune system is able to fight off illness; yet beginning in the colder, more stressful winter months, the immune system can become slightly compromised.

While the hustle and bustle of the season can’t be entirely avoided, there are a few steps you can take to boost your immune system.

>> Avoid excess sugar. Sugar slows your immune system.

>> Get some sleep! Sleep allows your body to recuperate and repair itself.

>> Deal with stress in healthy ways like meditation, exercise, socializing with friends, or a relaxing hobby.

>> Make sure you get enough vitamin D, as it elevates your immune system. Studies show that individuals with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to common colds, influenza, and other common respiratory illnesses.

Now, you probably want to know how to shorten the duration of a cold. It’s hard to believe, but in the throes of a fever, a high temperature is actually beneficial in getting rid of the cold virus since viruses are unable to reproduce at a high body temperature. Therefore, if your fever is less than 102 degrees, taking fever-reducing medicine is discouraged.

Unless you’re experiencing severe muscle aches, headaches, or similar cold and flu symptoms, you should also avoid taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and acetaminophen, as these slow down your body’s ability to make helpful antibodies.

Avoid antibiotics at all costs (unless you absolutely need them). Colds are caused by viruses, which don’t respond to antibiotics at all. In fact, the more antibiotics you use, the more resistant to future treatment for bacterial illnesses you become.