Preventing and fighting the common cold

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Preventing and fighting the common cold

Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

Ema Dorsey

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Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

Washing your hands frequently is always an easy way to prevent a sickness from spreading. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

With the start of winter comes many fun occasions, but also the nasty common cold, a plan wrecker for the holidays. The common cold can also prevent achieving tasks in the busy time before the winter break takes place. Each year, there are about one billion colds in the U.S. Cold weather itself does not cause people to suffer from colds; rather, the dry winter air provides easier transportation of virus droplets from coughs and sneezes. While there is no cure for the common cold, smart steps to avoid it can be taken, even if one has already been exposed.

Stage 1. You feel completely healthy, but this is not an excuse to slack on cold prevention. The choices you make for sleep, stress, and diet will make a difference once you have been exposed. The key is boosting your immune system.

 1. Sleep- Aim for at least seven hours per night. If you have a busy schedule during the week, attempt to make up for deprivation over the weekends. This is important because sleep increases the production of melatonin, which triggers the immune cells to destroy infected cells.

 2. Wash hands and gargle with salt water when you come home. Handwashing is simple and effective. Salt water helps fight germs.

 3. Eat colorful fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables strengthen your immune system and prevent infections. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood decrease internal inflammation. Internal inflammation prevents your immune system from working properly.

 Stage 2. After you’ve been exposed

 Traveling for the holidays by public transportation increases your chances of getting sick, since there is usually confined space with many people and a steady stream of dry, heated air flowing within the vehicle. The time it takes for cold symptoms to appear vary; it is usually two to three days, but sometimes a week.

1. Take vitamin C either through citrus fruits or through supplements. While vitamin C does not prevent colds, it may decrease the amount of time that you are sick. Red peppers also carry high amounts of vitamin C.

 2. Drink peppermint tea, which contains anti-viral properties. The water from the tea will also moisten your nasal passage and throat membranes, which is key since dry air makes bacteria stick to these parts.

 3.Do light exercise such as stretching, which prompts lymphatic circulation and prevents colds. Do not do an arduous workout, it will just wear out your body.

 Stage 3. You’re sick

 Don’t fight it. The best step is to take a day off; there is no substitute for sleep. Plus, a cold will decrease your performance level, whether you are at school or work.

1. Eat fennel or drink fennel tea. Fennel, which is abundant in phytonutrients, is effective in fighting bacteria and free radicals. This vegetable will soothe your cough and clear chest congestion. Anise, similar to fennel, will also do the trick.

2. Take zinc cough drops. Not only does it relieve throat pain, but the minerals also help your immune system fight the cold itself, shortening its lifespan.

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