5 Ways To Help Avoid Annoying Colds (and why we get sick)
by Joe Kalis
Aren’t you annoyed when you catch a cold, or worse? According to WikiPedia, the “common cold” is…
…a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which affects primarily the nose. Symptoms include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and fever which usually resolve in seven to ten days, with some symptoms lasting up to three weeks. Well over 200 viruses are implicated in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common.
UGH. I’m annoyed just reading that. Thankfully, I very rarely catch colds anymore. I say “thankfully” because it didn’t used to be that way until I took the time to figure out what causes colds, how (in theory) to prevent it, and specifically what I could do to prevent it.
So what is it that causes colds? We just read it’s a disease of the upper respiratory tract, caused by rhinoviruses. Rhino what? Anyways. It’s a virus. Viruses pass via living beings (humans). Your body only knows how to defend against this virus by way of the immune system. What happens if you have a weak immune system?
You get sick.
Easy enough, right? So why is it that our immune systems aren’t strong enough to resist this virus in the first place? Well, I don’t have the energy or interest to write about the utter disregard for quality food in American society, or the pollutants in our atmosphere these days, but I think you can imagine what I would say. Unless you’re REALLY intentional about it, your body does not naturally receive the amount of quality nutrients it needs to fight off all the viruses floating around.
If only we had something to supplement the lack of nutrients in our body!!
Oh wait, we do! There’s an entire industry built around vitamins and supplements. Despite some resistance most people have to vitamins helping (mostly because doctors usually tell you that you need drugs, and they’re always right [sarcasm]), they absolutely do. Before accepting that “vitamins don’t work”, you must first realize that you get what you pay for! Vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so they don’t HAVE TO measure up to anything. And usually, they don’t.
That $5 bottle of 500 vitamins you bought from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart? Yehhhh. No. Don’t be so naive to think those will actually do anything. They’re priced that way for a reason. On the flip side… should you apply for a new credit card to be able to afford great quality vitamins? No.
But before you dismiss paying a healthy amount on a good quality vitamin, look at the cost you’re incurring by NOT boosting your immune system and eventually getting sick:
- Doctor appointments. They get paid well, and it comes from your wallet. Either in co-pays or your insurance, there’s a substantial cost to seeing a doctor.
- Prescriptions. These aren’t always cheap, and they don’t even always work!
- Your time. How much is your time worth? That’s for you to figure out, but remember the trips to the doctor, laying in bed, going to the store to get a prescription, taking off off work, etc. It adds up more than you think (if you believe your time is valuable, that is).
So what CAN you do to boost your immune system?
- Take a good mega multi-vitamin (basic one a day types won’t hurt you, but don’t do a ton… remember the bit about QUALITY). This will bridge the dietary gaps you have by not eating a proper diet and build a fortress that the viruses will have to penetrate before getting to you
- Exercise more often. Keep your body moving to activate the cells that fight viruses
- Anti-oxidants (vitamin C & E). These are available in a mega multi-vitamin, but you can’t OD on vitamins; any excess are simply excreted. Better safe than sorry here.
- Get more sleep. Your body needs adequate opportunity to restore itself after a long day of… whatever you do. If your body is busy working all day, it has little energy left to fight when attacked
- Echinacea. An herbal plant that boosts your body’s natural defenses
There’s plenty more, but these are the ones I’ve found to be most effective to keep more from getting sick (only 3 times in the last 8 years). Bottom line is that you’ll want to make sure you weigh the investment of a good vitamin (maybe $50-75/mo) with the costs associated with getting sick without them.
What do you do to avoid catching colds?
Let’s hear about it in the comments below!
May 14, 2013
March 15, 2013