The frozen fall mornings here in east Tennessee are a dead giveaway: cold and flu season is officially here. Brookhaven Retreat has kicked off its annual campaign to have all staff vaccinated, but many common cold and flu germs are still out there and the flu vaccine cannot protect against everything.
With the holidays right around the corner, there’s no worse time to get sick. Nothing can quite make us feel the same type of depression or listlessness as we feel when we are cooped up at home feeling like steamrolled garbage. While nothing can simply make a cold virus vanish, there are natural ways to find relief and help your body feel better. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this cold and flu season:
Preventative vitamin C: When taken after a cold begins, vitamin C has not been shown to have any effect on the duration of that cold. However, research has shown that when taken daily as a preventative treatment, vitamin C can shorten duration of adult colds by 8 percent. While it doesn’t sound like much, that’s eight percent less sniffling, sneezing and coughing, so make sure to load up on vitamin-packed fruits and veggies this season.
Chicken soup: Though it may not be able to fight off cold germs, chicken soup feels culturally comforting to us and can help fight dehydration, which can make cold symptoms worse. The warm liquid may also loosen mucus and relieve nasal decongestion.
Gargling: A teaspoon of salt dissolved into a glass of warm water can moisten and relieve sore throats, helping us feel better faster.
Lots of rest: We want to work and get everything done, even when we are sick. Women especially can feel guilty about taking time out to sleep or simply lie down and read a book. However, taking time to rest is critical for helping the body heal itself. It also prevents us from spreading germs to others in our workspaces and home environments.
Zinc: Studies are mixed, but one reported that zinc lozenges reduced duration of a cold from 7.6 to 4.4 days. While other studies concluded these had no effect, it could be worth a try.
If you do become ill this fall or winter, remember to take time out to care for yourself. The more you rest and remain stress- and anxiety-free, the faster your body will recuperate and get you back on your way to celebrating the season!