October is rolling right on by, towing with it all the wonderful things that fall brings: leaves gently dropping off trees, pumpkins appearing in stores – and the inevitable sneezes and sniffles signaling the cold season is upon us.
Colds seem to make an appearance when we least need them bringing on the symptoms of feeling tired, run-down, runny nose, sore throat and the need for a little pampering. Instead, most of us ignore the signals by increasing our caffeine intake, not sleeping enough and skipping well-balanced meals for take-out or just skipping meals period, running the body on empty.
The common cold is caused by any of the hundreds of viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract and are spread through the air by sneezing or coughing or via a contaminated object such as a tissue. So it can be very easy to be infected with the virus just going about daily life – shopping, working, and playing.
The best defense is to boost the immune system and let it do its job. I think it is pretty common knowledge that stress suppresses the body’s immune system and therefore leaves room for the little bad guys called pathogens, to set up camp inside us. One of the very first things to keeping the body healthy is reducing stress.
Granted, some things are out of our hands such as working too much, running the kids around, dealing with unexpected detours and complications that life programs for us. The best defense mechanism for this is to slow down.
And when I mean slow down, I don’t necessarily mean eliminate any of the processes. Must of us need to work, have to take care of the family and must deal with the plugged sink all in one shot. A marathon runner learns how to pace the race versus the sprinter who takes off out of the gate like a racehorse.
I say, pace the race when managing life. Getting all anxious and revving on high mode only works the body harder and burnout is sure to happen. Then, the body’s immune resistance slips and that’s when ol’ bad-boy virus gets a chance to manifest a cold. Pace yourself.
But sometimes it is inevitable, the cold latching hold despite handling stress in a calm and collected manner. So stimulating the body’s natural defenses the minute a familiar symptom appears can work wonders to stopping the cold from breaking out.
Start with your diet. Whenever a cold starts to appear on your health radar, eat lightly, but healthily. Digestion requires the body to use up a lot of energy. Sometimes energy expended to digest heavy meals takes away from the energy needed to combat the cold. So eat steamed vegetables, soups and broths. Add garlic, carrots and onions to the base for added immune boost. Avoid mucus making dairy products to keep congestion down.
Hydrate your body by drinking plenty of clean quality water and fluids so toxins can be cleansed away and keep the respiratory tract from drying out. Hot teas such as cinnamon or ginger are wonderful at this point and putting lemon and honey with it helps soothe the throat, chest, prevent mucus buildup and encourage a cleansing sweat.
A cold can last up to 10 days but as little as three. Either way, it is the body’s signal that it has been pushed past its limit and now needs to rest and recuperate. Honor what your body is telling you and take the time to pamper it into a healthy immune-activated place, so you can weather the seasons without a snuffle or sniffle anywhere.