Common-Cold Cure Tips

Beat the Common Cold

by the Friendz Team on November, 2008

in Health

Catching Common Cold and Cough is the worst thing that happens in this season. What to do? Here are some strategies to prevent it:

Strategy #1: Eat the Antiviral Breakfast

Woke up sick and tired? Research shows that the right morning meal can help quash the cold virus.

In a recent study it was found that eating big and healthy breakfast (1,200 calories) boosts immunity by 150%!

More research is needed to determine if fewer calories will have a similar effect, but in the meantime, shoot for big breakfast every morning until your cold symptoms disappear. Not, however, 1,200 calories of pancake syrup. Instead, hit your quota by eating a bowl of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (with 2 percent milk), a glass of orange juice, and a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and grape jelly, followed by a Stonyfield Farm—brand smoothie.

Strategy #2: Stress Out Your Symptoms

If you get attacked at the school, strike back with stress. When Ohio State University researchers had 34 people either take a 12-minute memory test or watch a 12-minute video of surgical procedures, they found that the test-takers’ levels of SIgA, a key immune-system protein, shot up dramatically. (The SIgA levels of the people who saw the gore went down.)

The moral of the study: Expose yourself to short-term stress, the kind you have some control over, and you’ll supercharge your immune system. “Stress response is a normal protective coping mechanism,” says Jos A. Bosch, Ph.D., the study author. “The body prepares itself for potential harm and activates its immune resources.”

To use stress as medicine, Bosch suggests taking on a small extra project at work or helping a coworker with a task. “It shouldn’t take longer than a day or half a day,” he says. “If the stress response is continuous, then the immune system will be suppressed.”

Already swamped? Play a video game when you get home; Bosch found that Xbox stress can also boost SIgA levels!

Garfield Sleeping

Strategy #3: Recharge Your Immune Response

We love facebook, but call it a night. According to Michael Irwin, M.D., a psychiatrist and sleep researcher at UCLA, if the amount of sleep you’re logging decreases by 40 percent or more (for instance, you sleep 4 hours instead of the usual 7), the effectiveness of your immune system will decline by 50 percent. And for the immune system to operate at full strength, you’ll need to sleep a straight 8, the amount shown to produce the highest levels of “natural killer cells,” which attack viruses.

But don’t knock yourself out with alcohol, including alcohol-spiked cold medicines like NyQuil. A single dose of alcohol impairs your sleep. Instead, wear light clothing during your waking hours at home;

Japanese researchers found that this adjusts a person’s core body temperature enough to improve sleep quality and boost the immune response.

Strategy #4: Work Out the White Blood Cells

It’s harder to hit a moving target, and that goes for a cold virus that’s throwing punches, too.

Researchers found that the most physically active people had 25 percent fewer upper-respiratory infections over the course of a year than did the couch potatoes.

Researchers believe that exercise may strengthen immune function, in part by increasing the body’s production of white blood cells. If you exercise, you should see two benefits: One, you’ll have a reduced risk of catching a cold, and two, if you’re unlucky enough to get a cold, you should have it for a shorter period of time.

Common Cold CartoonThat said, it is possible to sweat yourself sick. (Marathon runners are at a greater risk of upper-respiratory infections after a race.) So do what Matthews’s study subjects did: Aim for 60 to 90 minutes of moderate activity daily, with walking counting just as much as weight training.

The Prevention Defense

There are two ways we commonly catch a cold: by unconsciously putting our mitts in our noses or mouths or by sucking in the germs from someone else’s sneeze or cough. Compulsive hand washing takes care of the first avenue of infection, but what about the airborne attack?

Do the obvious—hold your breath for as long as you can after someone sneezes or coughs near you. Think of germ-laden air as colored smoke. If you hold your nose, the colored smoke won’t go in.

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