I realize that we don't all have time to be laying in bed for 3-7 days, but here are some general tips to help nip your cold or flu symptoms in the bud...courtesy of my former chiropractor in Galveston, Dr. Mary Mallott-Brechtel.
1. Rest. Listen to your body. If you feel the need to rest or sleep, do so. Though regular exercise can boost your immune system, during cold or flu it may be wise to lighten or skip you usual workout or exercise program depending on the severity of your condition.
2. Drink plenty of water . Drink one half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, a 200-pound man should drink 100 ounces of water daily. When you have a cold or flu, increase that number by 20 percent. You can also drink clear soup broths or diluted vegetable juices.
3. Minimize sugar intake. Sugar, even if derived from natural sources like fruit juice and honey, can impair immune function. Keep sugar to a maximum of 50 grams per day.
4. Suck on zinc tablets or lozenges. Zinc is a nutrient which can help the immune system function. A zinc gluconate lozenge every two waking hours may help eliminate some symptoms and can cut the duration of the cold. Discontinue the zinc after one week if symptoms persist.
5. Maintain a positive attitude. At the most, your cold or flu will last three to seven days, so follow these guidelines and allow your body to fix itself.
I will add the following:
6. Get a flu shot every year, especially if you smoke, have asthma or are diabetic. They are relatively safe (very rare adverse events like fever, Guillann-Barre syndrome, allergic reactions)
7. Exercise regularly when not sick to stimulate immune and nervous system health
8. Consider using a Neti-pot (at your local pharmacy or Whole Foods) to clear the mucous from your sinuses and nasal passages. It's cheap and it's natural. Check out Dr. Weil's instructions on how to use this Ayurvedic contraption - http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/TIP03906/How-Do-You-Use-a-Neti-Pot.html
9. And don't skimp on the sleep! Probably the most important variable in this equation...although it's the one most of us are willing to throw by the wayside...tsk, tsk!
Have a wonderful week and STAY HEALTHY!
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.