Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tips for preventing cold & flu...

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was going to do some research on my questions that were triggered from getting a cold. I found some great info on about prevention along w/ an article on what doctors do to prevent colds & germs:
Tips for preventing a cold ~

Article, How Doctors Avoid Colds & Keep Germs at Bay ~

I also found a short article about preventing a cold from turning to pneumonia ~

After reading all 3 of these, I think that there is some good advice here. However, sometimes you can do everything and still get a cold. Although, I think we all can do a little more in our daily lives to help keep colds away.

If you do get a cold, then it's time to take the best care possible of your body (ie. drink plenty of fluids, rest & take the appropriate medicine or supplement, always check with your doctor first).

From my personal experiences over the years...
Vitamin C ~
Before I was diagnosed with MS in 2008, I used to increase my Vitamin C from my normal daily dose of 1,000 mg/day to 2,000 & 3,000 mg/day when I felt like I was beginning to get sick. For me, it helped keep colds at bay or reduced how long I had a cold. Post diagnosis, I have tried 2 or 3 times to increase my Vitamin C like I used to and have found that it isn't good for me anymore. It actually causes near my brain stem & the back of my head (lower left)...which happens to be where one of my lesions is. Plus, it no longer helps keep the cold at bay. I would caution anyone with MS about increasing their Vitamin C because it is an immune system activator and since we have an overactive immune system already, it could trigger exacerbations. (this is my personal opinion as I have no medical background.) I do, however, take 1,000 mg/day still and that is my maximum.

Echinacea ~
I attempted echinacea many years ago and never found it to be effective when dealing with colds. Here, I caution anyone to do their research about herbal remedies. Make sure that you know all of the side affects & check interactions with any other medicines and/or herbs that you are currently taking.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines ~
As mentioned in the article about doctors, use sparingly. Colds are a pain in the behind, but you don't want to take stuff you don't need (which many OTC medicines contain). For my colds, my doctor always recommends Mucinex (blue box only due to interactions w/ other medicines that I'm on). I think Mucinex (or store brand version) is extremely effective for colds. I give my kids the Mucinex for children when they get colds...there are packets that they just dissolve on their tongues and they don't mind taking them, which is great, especially when you have a picky kid that almost always refuses to take medicine because it "tastes too icky"! However, there are tons of different medicines on shelves, just make sure to read the ingredients and only take what you need for your particular symptoms. If you aren't sure, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

Vicks Vapor Rub~
This always triggers a memory of my grandma...she would always put Vicks on before bed. Whenever we would visit, she would smell of Vicks when she gave us hugs before bed. I wasn't a big fan of Vicks until last daughter had a cough that was problematic. We picked up a small container of Vicks and it helped a great deal for her cough. Last week when I got this stupid cold, I was so frustrated that I thought I'd give it a try myself. I used Vicks on my chest, just under my nose AND on my feet (covered w/ cotton socks)....and it actually helped a great deal within a few minutes. I was impressed.

Coconut Oil ~
I have a friend that swears by coconut oil. I have started to take it as a daily supplement and after 4 days, am starting to feel pretty good. I have read the benefits and am impressed.Coconut oil can be mixed in with your morning oatmeal, smoothies, used in baking or eat it right off the spoon. If interested, check out the benefits here ~

Flu vaccination~
Okay, I heard on the radio that it is being recommended that EVERYONE get a flu shot this year. I know that my doctor gives me a lecture every time I go in to see him during the fall/winter months about getting a flu shot. Personally, I will never take a flu shot. I got a flu shot several years in a row (many years ago) and wound up very sick for 2 months after each one. Therefore, I'm not interested. However, I know others that get one religiously every year and do just fine. To me, this is a personal preference and should be discussed with your doctor.

I'm sure there are other things I may be forgetting, but those are the main ones I can think of right now.

Hopefully everyone can stay healthy during this cold/flu season. :)


  1. haven't dwelled in the links you gave yet. i find lemon juice (half a lemon is sufficient)juice mixed with water and GINGER powder very effective in colds. Ginger seems to be the key element and i drink ginger tea in such days, too. Ginger can be consumed in every way. Another supplement that is said to be helpful is Zinc. i take a zinc pill these days when everybody is coughing and sneezing due to influenza. flu and a rise in my temperature is what i'm afraid of.

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