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I almost hate saying it, but I am surprised I am not hacking up a lung. Usually when I go away — and definitely after spending an afternoon in a kids’ ER — I get a cold. It’s been 48 hours now, and I am sniffle-free, but we’ll see what the week brings. I thought I’d post a few research-based facts about the common cold as well as a neat give-away opportunity to help those dealing with a cold feel better. It’s been a weird week in terms of posting. Sorry about that. Lots on my mind, most of it too involved to post about. Hope you enjoy these prevention tips. I’ll hopefully be back to my usual self in a day or two. And now…how do you prevent the cold? Why don’t you…

Get with a group. Having friends is fun, but it can also help you stave off the common cold, according to a study published in Scientific American Mind. When you spend time with good friends your immune system gets a boost, a good excuse to go out for a drink or spend a little time gabbing, no?

Wash your hands. Almost seems stupid to call this one out, but boatloads of researchers agree: Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent illness. Make it a habit to wash your hands as soon as you come home, and wash after shaking hands or before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Eat your veggies. Lots of them. A summer 2009 study found that pregnant women who ate at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily seemed to moderately reduce their risk of catching an upper respiratory tract infection (better known as a cold).

Drink your milk. Milk is one of the best sources of vitamin D. A February 2009 study found that those people who were deficient in this vitamin were 40 percent more likely to report being recently sick. “People with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu,” according to the study. While more work needs to be done to make a direct correlation between vitamin D and wellness, getting your recommended daily allowance of the stuff certainly can’t hurt, right? Here’s a good chart to see how much you need every day. (Scroll down a bit to Table 2.)

Do you have a cold? If so, drinking tea — but not too hot since it can increase the risk of throat cancer — can help you feel better. Tea — green tea in particular — contains antioxidants, seems to reduce the risk of diabetes, improves bone health, helps reduce the risk of periodontal disease, and just plain feels good.

Want to win a big basket of Celestial Seasonings teas? Please leave me a comment telling me what symptoms you usually get with a cold along with your name and email address. One reader will win the following:

  • Four wellness teas to ease symptoms associated with the cold and flu – Sleepytime Extra, Echinacea Complete Care, Tummy Mint.
  • Two green teas to support a healthy immune system year round – Authentic Green Tea and Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea
  • A mug, soothing lip balm, honey sticks and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Bear
  • The book “Herbs for Health and Happiness” by Mo Siegel and Nancy Burke

This gift is coming to one of my readers courtesy of Celestial Seasonings — I am not being paid for this. It was just a cool offer so I thought I’d pass it along.

So…tell me about your worst cold. What was it like? How do you usually deal with a cold? How do you avoid them? FYI about the giveaway:
Contest ends at noon pacific time on 3/17/10. Winner will be determined by random.org. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn.

6 Responses to “Have a Cold? Try a Little Milk, Tea, Partying”

  1. Chris says:

    Seven servings a day?! a week?

  2. Christine says:

    Symptoms when I have a cold: headache, runny eyes, sore throat. And crankiness!

  3. tracey says:

    Washing hands, yes. But STAY AWAY from the anti-bacterial crap! Purell and the other germ-destroyers are simply evil, IMHO. We NEED the bacteria and germs in average doses in order to stave off the severe illnesses. And? Catching a cold isn’t a sign that you weren’t diligent enough in taking care to avoid one. It’s just a sign that you’re human!

    I find that the best old traditions work the BEST: orange juice, lots of water and sleep. Sometimes the simplest remedies are the most effective.

  4. susandelg says:

    I always know a cold is coming on when I get that strange feeling in the back of my throat — it’s not quite itchy, not quite sore, just ultra-sensitive and a little dry. At that point, there’s little I can do to avoid the on-coming combination of sniffles, cough, watery eyes, tiredness and headache. I haven’t had a full-blown drippy cold this year, knock on wood. It could be attributed to the 3 or 4 cups of tea I drink every day (Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast, two big thumbs up in my house!). Or it could be that I’ve been sleeping better and not allowing myself to get run down. I definitely do NOT get 7 servings of fruits and veggies daily. (Does tomato sauce on pizza count for one?)

  5. MarthaandMe says:

    These are great tips. I have found that upping my vitamin D intake has helped me ward off a lot of colds this year.

  6. Tq for the interesting post. I would like to know more on the safety measures that we can or cannot do during pregnant…
    I have a nutrition suggestion for pregnancy, have a look at my site…click here

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