Uh oh—that familiar soreness creeps up your throat. You start sniffling. Your head feels like it’s underwater. You hate to admit it to yourself, but you know it’s true…

You’ve got a cold coming on.

No one likes being sick, but there are steps you can take to prevent colds or kick them to the curb soon after they start. And you don’t have to rely on DayQuil or Sudafed to get you through the day.

Here are some ways to stay healthy through the winter months, even when everyone around you is getting sick, and most of these might already be in your pantry.

Prevention

  • Eat a balanced diet: Include lots of vegetables, quality protein and good fats in each meal. Limit sugar, processed foods and alcohol in your diet.
  • Sleep well: Get 7-9 hours per night of uninterrupted, restful sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, wind down an hour before bed. Dim the lights, turn off all screens and electronic devices, and read or journal before bedtime.
  • Wash your hands: If you have been out in public touching door handles, shaking hands or hugging people that might have a cold, keep a mental note to wash your hands more often to help keep the germ exposure down.

When you feel yourself getting sick

  • Supplement with Vitamin C: Add lemon to your water, or drink hot water with fresh lemon juice and a little honey frequently throughout the day. Avoid sugary fruit juices like orange juice.
  • Try Elderberry Syrup: known for its medicinal properties and ability to kick colds fast!
  • Stay warm: Take a hot bath with essential oils like peppermint, or drink hot herbal tea. If you must go outside, bundle up!
  • Rest and de-stress: Slow down. Cancel your evening plans. Stay in and get to bed early. Stress is one of the most common triggers for colds and the flu. Keep it in check as much as possible.
  • Eat Raw honey: Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, plus rich in enzymes, minerals and amino acids essential for healing, usually an opaque color like this.
  • Limit dairy foods:  Eating dairy can add to congestion, so stay away from all sources of dairy until you feel better. This will help keep the congestion down and allow your body to get rid of what it has already.

If you do all of the above and you still get sick…let yourself be sick!

It is tempting to take over-the-counter medications so that you can hurry up and feel better, or keep going with your usual routine. But what a gift it could be to just let yourself be sick. When you take those medications, you suppress the symptoms, but you don’t actually cure the cold. You just mask it, making it last longer. If you allow your immune system to do its job, you will recover faster.

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