How to Fend Off a Cold

by Head Health Nutter on November 26, 2008

A great Metro article, “Coughing irks colleagues” last week reported that 68% of us are irritated by sick colleagues. The funny part is that 62% of us also admit that we come to work with a cough and cold. The article’s source, Dr. Brian Levine, medical director of The Cough Centre in Orange County, California, says that we have some control in how long we’re sick.

Doc Levine tells us that there are 4 stages of a cough (and cold) and that there are certain things we can do to move the virus through our systems. Here are the 4 stages, their symptoms and tips you can follow to speed up your recovery:

1st stage. The most contagious but also the least resistant to your cold-thwarting efforts. Symptoms: heavy head, low energy, itchy throat, clearing throat cough.

Tips:

  • Lighten your schedule and get lots of rest.
  • Drink fruit juices.
  • Increase antioxidants by eating more fruits and veggies.

2nd stage. Still infectious. Symptoms: Sneezing, scratchy throat, dry cough in short bursts.

Tips:

  • Lots of sleep.
  • Drink lots of fluids to hydrate and loosen secretions and flush out toxins.

3rd stage. You’re still able to pass on the virus. Symptoms: sore throat, congestion, may have fever and chills, cough is deep, loud and wet.

Tips:

  • Use saline nasal rinses twice a day and a warm steam vaporizer at night.
  • Don’t exercise, Levine suggests, “Mellow out. Take it easy and build up your endorphins. Read a good book. Listen to great music.”

4th stage. The virus has left the building, you’re no longer contagious. Symptoms: You’re feeling better with a tight cough and weeze.

Tips:

  • Eat more protein.
  • Exercise, especially strength training and stretching.
  • Get in some deep breathing exercises.

That’s Doc Levine’s advice. Come back to Live Lighter to learn a little more about the nasty little winter bug, how to safe guard against him, and how to kick him out if he does get in.

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