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Carol's Health Hubblet No. 1: Say No to Colds and Flu

Updated on January 25, 2010

Snow forts.

Skiing, ice skating.

The H1N1 Virus

and Viruses

It's also the time for catching the cold or worse, the flu. Both are caused by viruses. It takes 14 days for your body to eliminate the cold and flu viruses. The symptoms come on slowly, often starting as a headache and sore throat. A cold usually peaks between 3 and 7 days and then your body begins to start pushing the viruses out. By the end of the second week, your immune system has done it's job and the cold is gone. The flu cycles in the same way but the symptoms are worse and it may take longer to completely recover. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and antivirals are only used when the infection is severe as with the flu. The treatment of choice for minor viral illness is time.

There May be No Cure for The Common Cold but There is Help

So, we all know that there is no cure for the common cold.

There is, however, 4 simple things that will make your cold symptoms less severe and may even shorten its duration.  These things are a must for my medicine chest.  They work for me and I am sure they will work for you.  They are simple, inexpensive and require no prescriptions. 

Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin

The most important thing I do is to increase my intake of vitamin D. Anyone living north of the Mason Dixon line do not get enough once the days begin to get shorter. Vitamin D is essential for many body functions. Keeping the immune system working at its peak is one of them. Doses of 3,000 to 4,000 IU per day will help you from getting sick in the first place.

Netti Pot
Netti Pot

A Netti Pot

I use a netti pot or nasal wash system all winter long. Both are ways of washing out the sinuses with a warm saline wash. I find it helps in three ways. It helps to keep my mucus membranes hydrated, it helps to wash all the dust, pet hair and allergens out of my system and when I do catch a cold, I have found it is an easy way to relieve the stuffy nose of a cold without medications.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C
Purple Cone Flower
Purple Cone Flower
Ground Echinacea Root
Ground Echinacea Root

Linus Pauling was Right

Despite what the medical experts say, I find vitamin C especially helpful in fighting off colds. Whenever my daughter or I fly, we come down with terrible colds if not when we get to where we are going, for sure when we get home.  My dad, a nutritional junkie since Adel Davis' book was first published, advised us to take at least 3,000mg of vitamin C per day starting a few days before we left and continue for a week after we came home. 

My sister recommended taking echinaciae the same way.  Before the trip started and for about a week or two after coming home.  This is an unbeatable combination, vitamin C a powerful anti-oxidant and echinaciae an immune booster.  I have never gotten sick again when flying.  This combination also works when you feel any virus coming on. 

I also use this combination as soon as I feel a sore throat and post nasal drip, I start taking  1500mg of Vitamin C and 250mg of echinaciae twice a day.  Even if this duo doesn't stop the cold, it shortens its duration.  I can usually shake a cold in less that a week instead of two.

Vitamin C has proven safe at any level.  At 3,000mg the only side effect may be a little intestinal upset.  Echinaciae is not made for long term use.  Once the body's immune system has gotten rid of the virus, stop taking it until the next bout.


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