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Top 10 Best Ways to Stop the Common Cold and Flu: Prevention and Cure

Updated on November 13, 2012

A Virus

Closeup of a virus
Closeup of a virus

It's probably time to call the doctor if you have:

  • A fever of over 100 degrees F.
  • High fever with body aches or headache and fatigue.
  • High fever with sweating, chills, coughing, and yellow or green phlegm .
  • Symptoms that longer than 10 days or that steadily get worse over 3-5 days.

For lesser colds and flu, try these preventatives:

How To Stop the Devilish Viruses

If I ever feel that I have been exposed to cold viruses, I eat something spicy, because the oils, or the chemical capsaicin from the spice in hot peppers, fill up the areas of my cell membranes in which viruses inject their genetic material that makes us sick. Many viruses look like a Lunar Lander and have a barb that sticks into one of our cells through a "dent"-like area. The oils and capsaicin of spices and other foods block the barb.

The foods that work include hot peppers of any kind - fresh or ground, onions, garlic, fresh ginger, pickled ginger, horseradish, kimchee, and similar foods. Hot spicy shrimp eliminated my symptoms once in just 45 minutes. because of this, about 20 years ago, I increased my daily intake of all these kinds of foods with good results: many fewer colds.

There are over 200 separate viruses responsible for what we call "the common cold" and after we have suffered form each virus, some physicians feel that most of us are immune to each one. As with all rules and generalizations, though, this does not hold for everyone and all diseases do not affect different individuals the same way. The rhinovirus causes a lot of colds, and we may not be able to development much of a resistance to that one.

Take the measles - I had the three-day measles 7 times before I developed full immunity to them (twice as an adult).

The only time I become ill is sometimes when I experience a puff of dirt and dust in the face while cleaning, or during some other event. Otherwise, I do not catch colds. Here are the reasons for this, in my opinion:

Capsaicin molecule
Capsaicin molecule
Peppers that contain capsaicin.
Peppers that contain capsaicin.
Rhinovirus | Source

Top 10 Cold Preventatives

  • 1) I grew up around a lot of cigarette smoke [each parent smoked 1 full carton a day] and dust, but once I left for college, my airways and lungs cleared up and I stopped catching colds so often. I even had pneumonia twice as a child.
  • 2) I have undergone a substantial amount of martial arts training outdoors in cold weather climates, down to short times at 75 degrees below zero F. This strengthened my immune system and my survival attitude. My 3rd degree black belt test was outdoors in winter, in snow, ice, and a stream reaching up to mid-calf in cold water. I did not become ill. It was a martial arts camp during two weekends - 3 days in January and 3 days in February (we used cabins for sleep and meals) and no one became ill during those two weekends. This does not happen instantly. I trained for 3 years before I could do this. This training saved my life because one terrible winter, my car broke down in 75 degrees below 0 F and the outdoors felt like a dead planet. No one would stop to help me, so I walked about 1/3 mile to a gas station and was OK.

One of 200+ Cold Viruses
One of 200+ Cold Viruses
  • 3) During the winter, I keep the thermostat low, especially for sleeping. Cool temperatures can help ward off colds - under 65 degrees F. I also use a vaporizer because germs take hold when your mucous membranes become dry (eyes, nose, throat, etc.). Eye drops or artificial tears help in the winter as well. I drink lots of liquids all year round to wash out toxins.
  • 4) I wash my hands before and after using keyboards, working with children, preparing and eating meals, taking out the trash, and doing laundry.
  • 5) When I wash dishes, I use hot water, put a small amount of bleach in the dishwater as a germ killer, and dry the dishes in the open air in a clean dish drainer. Kitchen sponges and scrubbers are washed and placed in the microwave for about 30 seconds to sanitize them as well. These are also replaced often.
  • 6) I wash my bathroom down with a bleach solution monthly.
  • 7) I vacuum the furniture and mattress as well as the carpeting, to get rid of more dust and dust mites (they cause allergies).
  • 8) I keep a positive, proactive attitude, which boosts the immune system.
  • 9) When I find myself in stressful conditions or relationships that are unreasonable, I extricate myself from them. Stress of this or any type can lead to illness.
  • 10) I learned a variety of relaxation tips while doing counseling and therapy, and they work. Relaxation boosts the immune system.

Mutual support and friendship can go a long way toward strengthening the human immune system and this has been accepted since the 1980s in the US. For example, back in December 2003 - January 2004, our large church congregation prayed for abundant good health for 2004 -- and I have not caught a cold since that time (2004 - 2011). This is a combination of mutual support and prayer, bu the knowledge that others are praying with and for you has been effective in ameliorating some cases of cancer in studies down in the 1990s - 2000s. Cultural Competency in Healthcare is a mandatory consideration inmost of America since the 2000s, and religious traditions make up a large part of that --Whether we believe them or not, they enter into our patients' recoveries.

Comments and Experiences

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      People are coughing and sneezing around town, so it's time to get back to prevention for colds.

    • mirza shahzad profile image

      mirza shahzad 6 years ago from Germany

      Very Interesting Article

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you all for adding your comments and additional tips and information. Hopefully, fewer of us and our readers will have colds this fall and winter season!

    • elucidator profile image

      elucidator 6 years ago from SoCal

      I don't get sick often and I see some of your suggestions as some of the things that I do. I know I love it cold when I sleep - glad that helps! I must say I am an advocate of "Airborne" I don't know if any of it is psychosomatic, but when I do feel like I'm coming down with chest congestion, it seems to help stop it early. Nope, not a stock holder, it just works for me! Very good article. Thank you.

    • Marie-Renee profile image

      Renee 6 years ago

      Thanks Patty for this great hub. Though I have been reading your hubs this is the first time I get to comment, my bad. I love spicy food and in my experience it really helps relieve stuffy nose. Also, I haven't thought of martial arts training out in the cold but I encouraged my son to take up swimming to make his lungs stronger since he had asthma attacks and has allergic rhinitis. Since then he hasn't had any attacks...he even plays soccer these days. And yes, good hand hygiene is still the best prevention for almost all diseases. Will eat more spicy, i think the spicier the better. Thanks again for the other suggestions.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 6 years ago

      Patty, I have a bad cold right now ...I don't think it will be late to start a spicy diet. As for the stress...I'm pretty sure the stress at work contributed a lot.

      You have good info here and think I should share it with my friends.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      A truly refreshing, informative and helpful hub. Well written too and classy. Awesome!

    • profile image

      daniellehorgan 6 years ago

      These are all great tips! So many people around me at work and home have colds at the moment, I'll have to be really careful! I have always noticed that it is when I let myself get too stressed out that I catch it, so I'm keeping happy and laid back! Voted up and useful!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Great info here, I really liked the fact how a positive outlook can help.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Dr. Oz screens some very good segments on his show.

      I also use cleaning disinfectant wipes on library computers before i use them! That seems to prevent scratchy throats for me.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Thanks Patty! I usually get one cold a year, but I go with stress theory for lowered immune system with that 'one.' I learned on the Dr. Oz show this week that a sneeze travels 14 feet. Hmmmmmmmm Plus I leaned the correct way to cover when sneezing. Now, I have more ammunition from this wonderful hub on strengthening the immune system. Awesome! Maybe I won't visit that 'one' cold this year.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      It's been 8 years since I had a cold at this point. The spices work best for me.

    • profile image

      Carrie 8 years ago

      Interesting! I've done the same thing-- eat a VERY spicy dish every time I've been exposed to a cold virus. As spicy as I can tolerate, usually a soup with habanero. I haven't had a cold in at least 6 years. My fiancé experiences them often-- while in the same house, same shower and same bed as me. Subsequently, he has started this practice as well and finds they cut a cold's duration from up to 2 weeks to 3 or 4 days.

    • Dr. Nancy Malik profile image

      Dr Nancy Malik 8 years ago from Gurgaon, India

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      I find washing hands helps lot

    • profile image

      Rick 10 years ago

      I drink olive leaf tea daily for general health and well being. It is supposed to help boost the immune system.