Stifle the Sneezes and Tame the Cold

Stifle the Sneezes and Tame the Cold
allergy-18656_640Every year, the cold and flu season arrives along with plenty of advice for staying healthy.  How do you sort out the truth from fiction to stifle the sneezes and tame the cold?’s Senior Medical Director and expert Integrative Medicine and Internist, Dr. Brad Jacobs offers these practical tips based on his medical and alternative therapy knowledge. Stifle the Sneezes and Tame the Cold

An Ounce of Prevention:

  • Step-up hygiene. Keep virus-free by staying clean. For example, wash your hands with plain soap or waterless alcohol gel for 1-2 minutes.
  • Sleep. Deprive yourself of sleep and you’ll be more susceptible to viruses.
  • Chill out. Manage stress can improve immune function. Try meditating, exercising, doing your favorite hobby, or acupuncture (it’ll relax you).
  • Eat right. Good nutrition will help fight viruses.
  • Vitamin C.  Although many swear by it, recent research suggests it not a cold preventive.
  • Zinc. Lozenges taken every few hours at the onset of cold symptoms actually decrease the likelihood that a virus can adhere to your body.
  • Echinacea: Worried that you have been exposed to a cold virus? Consider taking Echinacea, it has been shown to reduce the chances of getting a cold by 58%. Take 2 to 3 ccs (liquid) or 300 milligrams (pill) every 2 to 3 hours for up to a week. Don’t take it indefinitely as a preventive but limit your intake to one week.
    • But Echinacea isn’t for everyone. Allergic to ragweed? Beware, as the two are in the same botanical family. If you’re immune-compromised or on immunosuppressant drugs, don’t take it, as Echinacea stimulates the immune system.
  • Flu shot.  Elderly and adults who have frequent contact with children can avoid the flu by getting a flu shot.

Aaaah-choo! Phooey.
Despite your best efforts, you’ve got a cold. What can help you get better faster?

  • Andrographic paniculata. This herbal treatment may help alleviate cold symptoms.
  • Chicken Soup. Although yet to be proven by human studies, laboratory studies and Grandma’s wisdom suggest this comfort food, and potentially any vegetable soup, may alleviate cold symptoms like head and sinus congestion. Why? Eating chicken soup apparently has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Echinacea. Here are the basics about this potential cold-buster:
    • Got a cold? Taken within 24-48 hours of cold symptoms can to decrease the duration of a cold by up to 1.4 days. 2 to 3 ccs (liquid) or 300 milligrams (pill) every 2 to 3 hours for 2 to 3 days or until your cold is gone.
    • But make sure to read the warning above on who shouldn’t take Echinacea.
  • Feed a cold? Do what feels right; if you’re hungry, eat; if not, don’t. Be sure to get plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Sleep it off. Yes, lots of rest will help you recover; use a humidifier in your bedroom to decrease symptoms and help you feel better.

In addition to many more cold and flu prevention and treatment tips, offers free content from internationally-recognized medical sources including Mayo and Cleveland Clinic; 120+ free health assessment tools; community features (where you can talk with others on health issues and their treatment suggestions); find and rate local hospitals, doctors and dentists; and compare health insurance plans.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson

As Director of Sales and Marketing, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well.  Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor.  Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and she was a primary caregiver.  Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 104-year-old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor.  She is happily married to her husband of 24 years and they have 3 children.

View All Articles

Leave a comment