Question: Every winter I get a cold. Is there anything I can do to prevent one?
Dr. Ronald Boyer
Since there is no cure for a cold, a proactive approach must be taken to prevent one. Keeping a cold at bay requires washing hands frequently, getting plenty of liquids and rest, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Yet, even with the most meticulous hygiene and health precautions, a cold can be contracted and can keep a person bed bound for days. As with other viral infections, colds have to run their course. Treatments like getting plenty of bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, and gargling with warm salt water can offer a little relief in most uncomplicated cases.
Medicines can also help ease symptoms. However, for those who want natural relief there are homeopathic medicines that treat cold symptoms without drug interactions or side effects such as drowsiness or hyperactivity. Homeopathic medicines are known for their safety and reliability, and therefore considered by many as an excellent first choice of treatment for cold symptoms. These medicines do not mask symptoms that may develop or indicate a more serious condition, which is especially important due to complications that may be brought on by a cold. Busy individuals will also value not losing personal or professional productivity to drowsiness.Dr. Ronald Boyer, President of the Center For Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy and medical director for the Boiron Institute.
Elizabeth Somer, M.S., R.D.
A good diet contains optimal amounts of the protective nutrients that maintain a strong immune system, your defense against germs. Even if you do catch a cold, the symptoms are less severe and you should recover quicker than someone whose immune system is weakened by inadequate nutritional supplies.
Heap your plate with broccoli, spinach, oranges, and other colorful fruits and veggies. These foods are sources of the antioxidants, including beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and selenium, that work together to boost the immune response and increase resistance to infection. Beta carotene in carrots, apricots, and asparagus also maintains the skin and mucous linings in the nose and lungs, which are the body's first line of defense against germ invasion. Immune-boosting minerals include iron, copper, and zinc. These nutrients interact and it is their balanced, unified effect on immunity that is important, so don't go overboard with a handful of mineral supplements; choose whole grains, nuts, green vegetables, and legumes instead. For example, although moderate doses of zinc (up to 30 milligrams a day) are beneficial, large doses suppress immunity and might increase infection risk. Finally, add a clove or two of garlic to your daily diet, since it contains sulfur-compounds that inhibit the growth of bacteria and might stimulate immunity, and drink lots of water!Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., is the author of several books, including Food & Mood (Owl Books, 1999) and Nutrition for Women (Owl Books, 2003).