I'm back with part 2 in this mini-series on immunity. A couple weeks ago, I talked about the long term strengthening of your immune system, while today I want to touch on "incident response", or more simply--actively fighting colds and flus. Working to build up that solid door of immunity to protect the fortress that is your well-being is vital, especially as we enter the cold and flu season. But what do you do when all your efforts in this arena have seemed to fail? Here are my top go-tos for when I feel something coming on (which, for me, usually starts with a sore throat):
First thing first--I recommend sanitizing every part of you that's come into contact with illness. That may mean if a cough is going around at the office, you shower immediately upon getting home from work. The most common illnesses we fight in cold and flu season enter our bodies mostly through the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose (for real), so be serious about keeping your head clean. As funny as it sounds!
Secondly, kill any bacteria forming in the back of your throat with an apple cider vinegar tonic. Both apple cider vinegar and honey have antibacterial qualities. Some people can really water down their tonic to be able to consume a larger amount, but I personally can't stomach too much of the stuff so I make it strong and tiny. Combine 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and stir, allowing the vinegar to break down the honey. Next, dilute with 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water. Then down the hatch it goes!
A common tip, but effective all the same is to take plenty of vitamin C when you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu. It is true that vitamin C is water soluble, so your body will get rid of any it can't use. With that said, pack it in! Just be careful not to give yourself a tummy ache. When I'm actively fighting a cold, I try to consume vitamin C at every meal, whether directly in my food (like tomatoes and citrus) or through a tablet. Another supplement to pair with your vitamin C is zinc. The research is not definitive, but zinc may shorten the length of your cold. You'll want to follow the recommendations for dosage that come with your bottle though.
My last tip is an important one! It may be tempting to cruise over this one, but hang tight because I'm about to get serious about rest and hydration. When you feel sick, all you really want to do is crawl into bed anyway, and your body actually knows what it's doing there! Rest and hydration truly are two of the body's most effective ways for fighting illness! I touched on these ideas in the last post on immunity and they're important enough to reemphasize. The reality is, if you get caught up in a crazy schedule and poor nutrition habits, your body will not be equipped enough to fight the cold or flu it's threatened with. You need a decrease in adrenaline and assistance to your lymphatic system (which is what rest and hydration DO) to stay and get well.
So get to it, friends and FIGHT THAT COLD. I just want you to get back to feeling super! And if you have more helpful ideas for what to do when you feel something icky coming on, share in the comments below!