I haven’t been sick for more than 24 hours in over two years. Many (maybe even most) people can probably make the same claim, but I have a history of getting sick every 2-3 months, especially during the winter. (I refer here to simple head and chest infections… not nasty stuff like malaria).
Everyone has different methods for preventing illness ranging from the scientific to the superstitious. Here’s my general method for sickness prevention:
- Drink plenty of water (–> drink alot more when cold symptoms appear).
This is probably good for my health in general. It helps me prevent headaches and makes me feel better overall, but I still need to make a conscious effort to remember to drink.
- Take Cold-Eeze when symptoms appear.
Cold-Eeze is an over the counter remedy for the common cold. The active ingredient is zinc gluconate. Cold-Eeze has been shown to shorten the duration of the common cold in clinical trials. I really think it’s great stuff, and I encourage you to read the link above.
- Don’t run outdoors in cold weather.
I’m a fair weather runner, but not because I don’t like the cold… I actually rather enjoy it. However, my experience has been that when I run in the cold, I get sick. This might be related to my asthma.
- Take control of my allergies.
I have pollen allergies, and I cannot tell the difference between allergy symptoms and a head cold. The one small discrepancy between the two is that a head cold might not respond to allergy medicine, and allergies might. Allergies seem to increase my succeptibility to getting head/chest infections anyways, so it’s clear that stopping allergies before they start is very important.
- Get a flu shot.
I actually don’t usually get a flu shot, but I got one this year because of a recent trip out of the country, so I suppose I should list it here in case it is helping.
Notice the conspicuous absence of vitamin C from this list. Recent studies have shown that vitamin C isn’t quite so great for combating the common cold as conventional wisdom would tell us. In fact, I’ve heard that there is more hard evidence that Cold-Eeze works than vitamin C.
I don’t know which, if any, of these factors is contributing to my recent success in staying healthy. I’m sure there are other factors that have more of an influence than I give them credit for (diet and excercise come to mind). I’d be interested in hearing what you do to stay illness-free. What do you do regularly? What do you do when you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on?