On: How to Not Get Sick

Ah, finals. The time of year when everyones immune system wears down.

I wrote this a few years ago but it becomes applicable every winter, as colds make the rounds. Especially at school! After years of working long hours and sometimes sleeping little, I consider myself a semi-pro at avoiding the dreaded cold. After being sick a lot from being under-rested and run-down, I finally figured out how not to get sick and made it through an entire year of full-time work and full-time classes with all sorts of crazy hours and not one cold! Not one.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do as soon as I get a tickle in my throat:

Daily Prevention: when youre busy and/or everyone around you is sick

1. Drink Vitamin C every day (when your schedule is crazy and sleep is hard to come by) or a few days before/after travelling by air (which can involve little sleep).

I drink Emergen-C before I go to bed occasionally (or every day when its going around/midterms/end of semester). Its the best tasting one, and Ive tried them all. Try mixing it with a teeny bit of juice or a squeeze of lemon or lime.

2. Take preventative vitamin-based supplements regularly during busy/low sleep times

Just take a few Echinacea vitamins if everyone around you is sick. For something stronger, Echinamide makes natural Echinacea-based anti-cold supplements: Quick Blast is like Cold-fx, but better (in little capsules), and their Anti-Cold works really well. You can also go the extra mile and take Echinacea tincture or Oil of Oregano: but they taste gross and I therefore only use them when I really really have to.

*Obviously, wash your hands a ton: nothing will make you madder than doing all this stuff and then getting sick from touching the same coffee machine buttons that your sick co-worker did

Prevention: immediately if/when you start to feel a cold coming

1. Drink your daily Vitamin C twice

2. Cut up some fresh ginger root into slices and boil it in a pot of water for 10-20 minutes, make tea with that water as you normally would. (You can keep the same ginger slices in there and just refresh the water for use all day—boiling it for longer will make it stronger). Drink that tea constantly, all day long.

3. Take supplements/vitamins right away! As many as recommended, a few times a day. 
And Vitamin C, if you’re not drinking it. This includes Echinacea, Echinacea tincture, Oil of Oregano, and any other similar natural immune system booster/cold remedy.

4. Take that Anti-Cold/Quick Blast/Cold fx mentioned above—right away, or it won’t work!

5. Suck on Zinc tablets & lozenges (read the directions! You usually have to wait a few hours between them). They immediately make your throat stop hurting! Magic.

6. Gargle with baking soda and salt and warm water at night before you go to bed, if your throat hurts: it kills bacteria naturally overnight, and coats your throat so it feels better. Make sure it’s the last thing you do before bed/don't drink anything right after you do it.

7. Sleep! Sleep, sleep sleep. Your body needs time to heal!

8. There is a gland on the top of your hand in the webbing of your thumb and your first finger. Pinch/squeeze it between your thumb and pointer finger of your other hand and massage it: if you're sick or almost sick, it’ll hurt with even a teeny bit of pressure. This is a lymph node that, when massaged, helps immune system circulation.

9. Eat a full clove of fresh garlic. It’s totally gross. The best way to do it is to make ‘garlic bread’: cut the clove, rub it on the bread with some butter, slice it up, and put the slices on it (its actually pretty good this way, if you like garlic).

Prevention: pulling an all-nighter that may make you sick

1. If you have to stay up all night (if you must) and are already feeling not so hot, boil ginger root and sip a really strong mix of it with tea and drink as much of it as you can: just keep the water going and refill your cup. Try to sleep even three to four hours, if you can, because all-nighters suck! Some sleep is better than none, come the next day.

Uh-oh: I got the cold I was trying to not get!

1. Continue doing everything listed above: vitamins, ginger tea, garlic. All day, if you can.

2. Add a few herbal medicines on: Herbion makes a really good ‘Cold & Flu Remedy’ you drink like tea a few times a day (like Thera-Flu, but natural), or find a vitamin & honey-based cough syrup (there are a million kinds of these, now).

3. Obviously, sleep as much as you can!

* In my experience, drug store ‘medicine’ like Nyquil & Dayquil don’t really help your immune system fight off your cold. I never take any. If you keep doing all of these things, instead, your cold will last for a way shorter time!

Do you have any tips/tricks that you do to help lessen a cold or stop one from getting you?