During the chilly winter season, many people will once again fall victim to an unpleasant and prevalent illness: the common cold.
Colds are triggered by viruses, not bacteria. These viruses spread via hand-to-hand contact. They are transmitted through everyday objects and can survive for hours. Antibiotics and penicillin don’t have any effect on cold viruses, so think twice before buying these drugs.
It takes more than a thick coat and a warm home to fight a cold. Dr. Joseph Mercola gives these natural health tips:
1. Check Your Immune System — Is It Performing Well?
A healthy immune system helps you easily fend off the virus. But if it’s impaired, it’s an invitation for viruses to enter your body. The most common factors contributing to a weak immune system are:
- Excessive sugar and grain consumption
- Insufficient sleep and rest
- Failure to address emotional stressors
- Vitamin D deficiency
2. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
You can easily catch a cold if you have a vitamin D deficiency. An antimicrobial agent, vitamin D creates 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
According to Dr. Mercola, less-than-optimal vitamin D levels impair your immune response and expose you to influenza, colds, and other respiratory infections. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, where an average adult can get a cold two to four times every year, while kids may have up to 12.
You can acquire vitamin D from direct sunlight. If you don’t have enough sunlight exposure, a safe tanning bed or prudent vitamin D3 supplementation can help optimize your levels. A tanning bed or supplementation becomes vitally important during the winter months when you simply are not able to obtain enough vitamin D from the sun. Check vitamind.mercola.com for the most current and up-to-date recommendations.
3. Eat the Right Kinds of Foods
Dr. Mercola urges you to avoid processed foods, sugar, and artificial sweeteners like the plague. These can damage your immune system. Instead, consume immune boosting foods such as raw organic milk, eggs, grass-fed beef, probiotic-rich fermented foods, coconut and coconut oil, animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil, locally-grown organic fruits and vegetables, garlic, herbs and spices. Drink pure water, too.
The famous “chicken soup remedy” can actually help reduce cold symptoms. Chicken contains cysteine, a natural amino acid that thins the mucus in your lungs, to help you easily expel it. Choose homemade chicken soup made with organic chicken, not processed canned soups.
Supplements such as vitamin C, oregano oil, propolis, herbal tea and olive leaf extract can provide added protection from the common cold.
4. Wash Your Hands
Thorough hand washing can easily remove germs and viruses, reducing your risk of infection. It’s more effective than drugs in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.
Use plain soap and water when you wash your hands. Avoid antibacterial cleansers that allow strains of resistant bacteria or “superbugs” to proliferate and cause ingredients to lose their effectiveness. Triclosan, an active ingredient in most antibacterial products, kills human cells.
5. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Dr. Mercola advises against over-the-counter medications, but this simple technique is one of the few exceptions. Put a few drops of three percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into your ear. It may bubble and slightly sting a bit, but within the next five minutes these sensations should cease. Drain the fluid on a tissue, and repeat with the other ear.
6. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Get sufficient, good-quality sleep to strengthen your immune system. Exercise regularly. Establish a regular fitness program, like Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Peak 8 exercises. Manage your emotional stress. Try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to repair emotional short circuits and balance your body’s subtle energies.
Follow these simple, yet effective tips diligently to get through this winter season.
Keep reading this blog for more tips from Dr. Mercola.