Top Ten Cold and Flu hints and products


In the winter it’s harder not to get sick, than it is to remain healthy throughout the season. For many reasons, we find ourselves grabbing for the tissues instead of our vacation guides. Many of us already are sick 365 (or 366 if it’s a leap year!!) days of a year, so we need to get over this whole mess fast! Here are the top ten tips and products to help you get through the cold and flu season this year.

1- Get a flu shot!!! They talk about the “most at risk” categories, but the truth is if you don’t have egg allergies (since the vaccine is made from eggs,) there is no reason NOT to get one. This year there is PLENTY to go around and it is never too late to receive one, in order to protect yourself. This won’t guarantee you will not have any flu episodes, but it can help! And let’s face it, we need all the help we can get!! (If you don’t think you can afford an office visit and the shot, look for clinics in your area. Many pharmacies have them throughout the season.)
2- Air out that house! We shut ourselves in with some drying heat method and forget that we need fresh air! Turn down the thermostat a little and crack a window open for 15 minutes. Just get some freshness in and breathe deep. A little goes a long way to keeping you healthy and breaking the cycle of “pass the cold.”
3- Use saline! Saline will help thin mucus, prevent build-up and moisturize those traumatized passages. Gel saline is great for overnight! It’s a simple thing you can do to help things along. Also it’s good to use before bed if your heating method, like forced air or a wood stove, is particularly drying! A little prevention goes a long way.
4- Use products made to shorten a cold! (Try Zicam for OTC) If you go for prescription or over the counter methods, they all really help. They can shorten a cold or flu from 7-14 days right down to 5 or less, depending on the situation and the method. Save yourself days!!! (Of course, consult your doctor before taking anything new.)
5- Use supplements like Airborne. These immune boosters really do help! Use them before going to malls, on planes or even before bed to help your body fight something off. They taste great, are easy to use and relatively inexpensive compared to some of the treatments available! (A good multivitamin can be a boost as well!!)
6- Think positive!! My mother never got sick and her secret? She refused to get sick! She thought “I won’t get a cold this year! I am just fine!” Sometimes mind over matter can be a big thing! Also a more depressed mood can depress your immune system and stress your entire body! Perhaps you can join a church group or just an online peer-to-peer chat mailing list.
7- Hand washing is the best! Use warm, not hot, water with a good soap. (Antibacterial or not, it doesn’t matter!!) Work up a rich lather (paying attention to between fingers, wrists and under nails as well!) and sing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice. Rinse thoroughly. Dry thoroughly. Every step is important and just washing several times a day like this can prevent SO MUCH! I highly recommend good lotion soap this time of year too. Dry skin can crack and cause issues! (Maybe try some lotion after washing!!)
8- Exercise! We all get home bound eating rich, hearty baked meals this time of year and forget to enjoy the season! Take a good long walk and move those muscles! (Another way to get fresh air, too!) If you bundle up right, you can go anywhere without fear! Exercise helps both body and mind and a well exercised body can easily fight off more, making it less likely you will catch that office cold!!! (Just be careful in slippery conditions!!)
9- Relax! Now you got fresh air and exercised, find time in all the stress and bustle this time of year to do some yoga, meditate, write in a journal or simply listen to some music with a hot cup of something. We forget ourselves a lot of times, but this time of year you are just as important as everyone else. My best friend swears a good hot bath can fix anything, even create world peace! While I don’t think as highly of them, I do believe in their power of restoration! Try it!
10- See your doctor!! A good well visit this time of year can be a push to catch things early! Also before trying most of this, it’s recommended you see your doctor for drug interactions and advice! What is good for the goose may not always be good for the gander. Always work within your limits and never get discouraged if something doesn’t work as fast as you’d like or maybe not at all.
Stay healthy and have a wonderful winter season!!
© 2008 by Jennifer Altherr,
Check out this blog called to read more articles about healthy living.

  • Thanks, Not much proof on the Zicam or Airborne, but a lot of people swear by them. Don’t forget good ole chicken soup.

  • Carol

    Great tips.
    My problem is, according to the pharmacists I’ve asked, there are no OTC meds for cold/flu for people with high blood pressure and diabetes here in England. I was told to use Vicks.
    Times like these, a cold, I wish I was back in the states.

  • Pamela

    I just want to say that acerola, a natural vitamin C supplement, has literally never failed me. It is the greatest immune boost I’ve ever used and keeps colds at bay or kicks them out in minutes!I like the “pure encapsulations” formula bc it’s hypoallergenic and easily digestible.

  • Paige

    Altough this is great advice i need help in a few hours or days! I have taken the medicine and although it does help my pain but i need old grandma’s cooked up recipe to help me. i have four days off of school and work and I am not spending it sick! Please help MEEE!!!!

  • Great tips Jennifer. Stuff we know -but can always use the reminder.