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bookish1's avatar

How do you stop a cold before it starts?

Asked by bookish1 (13110points) October 9th, 2012

What are your best tips for preventing a cold when you feel it coming on?
Despite my best efforts to avoid germs while navigating that wretched Petri dish of a campus, I seem to have caught the first bug that came by.

Curses to my feeble diabetic immune system!
I need to not let this turn into a real cold, because I have a super important interview this Thursday, and it pretty much can’t be cancelled unless I am in the hospital. I’d really appreciate any tips…I’m not thinking very clearly.

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25 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Stay warm all the time and indoors as much as possible. Drink really hot liquids like non-caffeinated tea, load up on juices, Gatorade. Eat fruit and veggies like crazy, cut meats and starches back some. Lots of warm baths and sleep. I take Nyquil as soon as I start feeling sick and make sure my sleep is quality.

glacial's avatar

Agreed. Stay warm, drink fluids, get as much sleep as you need to.

I also tend to stop drinking milk and eating anything sugary (even juice), because I just don’t want those things when I’m feeling sick. Maybe it’s my body’s way of trying to tell me something, maybe not.

janbb's avatar

My daughter-in-law has recommended drinking Emergen-C, a hot liquid way to get extra vitamin C into yourself. You should be able to buy it in any supermarket or drug store. I don’t know if it works but as my Jewish ancestors would say, “It couldn’t hoit.”

Nullo's avatar

My mom swears by swabbing out your nose and ears with peroxide.
@janbb The body can only use so much vitamin c; the rest just washes out into the toilet. Doesn’t hurt anything but your wallet, iirc.

bookish1's avatar

@KNOWITALL: Thank you for these tips! I’ll be alternating vegetable broth and herbal tea all day. I also have about 3 quarts of tabouli in my fridge that I could work on! Do you know why it’s best to cut back on meats and starches? Is that to save the energy you would have expended digesting them? When I’m sick I just want to do a faceplant into some mashed potatoes!

@glacial: Thank you. I stay away from sugary things when I’m sick anyway because high blood sugar makes it take longer for me to heal!

@janbb: Haha. I’ve never heard of anyone drinking Emergen-C hot though! I have already been loading up on it for the past week, trying to keep from getting sick when I heard all the undergrads sniffling. It has something like 2000% the DVA of vitamin C, which is great, but you can’t drink too much of it because it also is supercharged with B vitamins, which I think you can overdose on. I already had my 2 packets for the day and I’m just going to be popping vitamin C pills like candy ;)

@Nullo: Huh! I’ve never heard that one. Is that for when you’re already sick, or to prevent a cold? I don’t have any peroxide at home, but I’ll keep that in mind for next time. Thank you!

zenvelo's avatar

Take zinc, 1,000 mg twice a day. Take Zicam, follow the protocol. And have Chinese Hot and Sour soup (or Thai Tom Yum) for lunch and dinner.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Whenever I feel a cold coming on I try to make sure my eating habits are a little healthier than usual. I will up my vitamin C intake and make sure I get plenty of sleep. I feel your pain though, I work at a University and every year I have to dodge the dreaded “Freshers Flu”!

marinelife's avatar

I am in this exact situation. My husband came down with a cold the day after he had been very close to me, kissing, etc.

I also have a compromised immune system so i really do not want to get it.

I take echinnaccea (two capsules) morning and evening and also two doses of EmergenC one in the Am one at night. So far it is working.

Note: if I was already sniffling, I would take echinnaccea more often.

Good luck for the interview.

Sunny2's avatar

If I’ve been exposed to a cold (someone behind me coughing) I immediately take 2000 mg of vitamin C and then 1000 mg twice a day for 3 days (the usual incubation time of a cold.) I can’t remember the last time I had a cold.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bookish1 Yes, your body does tend to work harder to process those, and you can always eat toast if you’re craving carbs.

Personally one of the things I eat when I’m sick, and yes this is kind of gross, is a plain hamburger from McDonalds….for some reason I can hold that down when nothing else works for, and if I’m craving sugar, I’ll get a small chocolate shake. Must be a childhood cure-all for me because normally I’m not much of a McD fan.

Nullo's avatar

@bookish1 Mostly a preventative measure, but she says that it will also lessen the duration of a cold.

gailcalled's avatar

Gloomily, I believe my grandmother. She said that you could do anything preventative that you want; the results would still be one week in and one week out.

I now take a packet of Emergen-C daily in a huge container of water, both to make sure I drink the water and to help prevent leg cramps. Who knows?

deni's avatar

Tons and tons and tons of water and Vitamin C in whatever form you’d like….Emergen-C or just eat some oranges….take a shot of cayenne pepper in warm water. That shit is good for just about every bodily function.

Jeruba's avatar

I do all the things I’d do if it had developed:

• slow down and rest
• drink lots of liquids, especially water
• take vitamin C tablets, up to 1000 mg a day
• stay in, stay home, keep warm
• head symptoms off with OTC meds as they come on (and if I have something important to do, I stoke up on non-drowsy treatment of symptoms right before the event, and carry a discreet supply of tissues)
And—most important—
• set my mind on not having the cold; I won’t have it

Some of this has a sound basis and some of it is magical thinking. I do it all anyway because colds can be really serious for me.

I beat three out of four colds this way, most recently just two weeks ago when my young, strong, healthy son had a bad one. I felt it coming on, I did my magic, and I just didn’t have it.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the fourth one is usually a doozy. But for someone of my age and health condition to go a year or two between colds, something is working.

P.S. And I always have my flu shot.

Shippy's avatar

I drink ginger tea, made from ginger root, and take vitamin C every four hours.

Rarebear's avatar

Wash your hands. A lot.
If you’ve already been infected there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

marinelife's avatar

@bookish1 It happened. I woke up with a sore throat last night. Hope that you were luckier.

janbb's avatar

@Rarebear That’s always been my impression too. Nice to hear it confirmed by a doctor.

bookish1's avatar

@marinelife, I’m sorry to hear you succumbed to the pink robots… Good luck fighting that!

@Jeruba: Thank you for sharing your action plan! And I love that you admit to using magical thinking. I certainly do too but I get the sense that people aren’t ‘supposed’ to confess to that! I’m certainly not getting sick, nope… I always have my flu shot too. I haven’t had the flu since I was 8 or so, which is a good thing, because even a minor infection can turn serious real fast for a type 1 diabetic.

@deni: Thank you. I’ve been living on vitamin C pills and I bought some oranges and pineapple today. And I know all about the healing powers of red pepper, having been raised by an Indian! Yesterday I made up some vegetable broth with lemon juice and about a tablespoon of XXX red hot chili powder thrown in! Hot enough to burn the top of my head off. It felt great.

@Rarebear: But I do wash my hands alot! The problem is that unsocialized undergrads don’t, and then freaking cough and sneeze without covering themselves. shudders

Thanks again to everyone for your responses. I was indeed on the verge of a cold yesterday, as I sneezed about 15 times when I woke up and that is a telltale sign for me. I stayed home yesterday, slept as much as I could, and drank tea or broth or water constantly, and tried to eat a light but nutritious diet. I think I’ve got this one beat!

Nullo's avatar

@bookish1 Not washing your hands all the time is ecosystem management. You can kill 99% of bacteria, but that remaining 1% is resistant to whatever your methods are… and now there’s no competition in its environment. It can have all of the resources.

dabbler's avatar

Propolis extract, I recommend those not in alcohol base.
Nasal irrigation, get a neti pot, mix up a saline solution, pour from one nostril at a time down to throat, spit out.

marinelife's avatar

@bookish1 So were you all right for the interview? How did it go?

Unbroken's avatar

It’s too late now but a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar hot water and a dabble of honey. I got every one at work started on this prior to flu season. Worked wonders no one got sick. And it actually tastes good.

cutiepi92's avatar

Personally, my mother has always told me to take zinc the moment you feel a cold coming on. She always does it and hasn’t had a cold for years so I’m assuming it works pretty well (I don’t get sick that easily so I haven’t really had to do it)

bookish1's avatar

Wow, I lost track of this thread. Thank you to everyone for very helpful tips, and @marinelife, my interview went splendidly, thank you! (Fingers still crossed for the grant.)

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