It’s strange, isn’t it, and correct me if I’m wrong: With the miracles of modern medicine and science, the most common of things we’d like fixed once and for all are ever with us. Barbie doll shoes will never stay on her feet, no one can pre-order the gender of a child, and most of us suffer with an awful cold every now then.

Argghgh, oh who doesn’t just hate the first hint, with the scratchy throat and the slowly emerging reality that your head hurts and your bones ache, and that a nice soft bed is the only thing that sounds good. And who among us doesn’t immediately run for some large glasses of orange juice at the first sign of a cold? Next we pop a few Vitamin C tablets. We’re programmed to believe that this is the body’s immediate need to help arrest and shorten the misery. Does it work or even make a difference?

Believe it or not, there is much scientific evidence to indicate that it’s merely the orange juice manufacturers who have convinced us to take action and spend our money their way. And of course, it DOES taste good and really won’t hurt a thing. But help?

Science says NO:

“The most influential trial for the common cold trial was analyzed erroneously. It had calculation errors, and was not consistent with the selection of studies.” Harri Hemilä at Helsinki University has done extensive research on the Vitamin C myth and reports that for most people the cold-preventing effect of taking daily vitamin C supplements was so slight that it was not worth the effort or expense. “It doesn’t make sense to take vitamin C 365 days a year to lessen the chance of catching a cold.” The only group to show that there was a strong relationship to Vitamin C as a daily supplement and reduction of colds were marathon runners and professional athletes whose bodies were under a great deal more stress than the average person.

You can read more of this documented study and the false conclusions drawn at the links below this article.The study also showed that Vitamin C taken during a cold did little or nothing to change its duration.

So if Vitamin C is a myth, are they any other options to prevent or shorten the duration of a cold or the flu?

Dairy Products and Colds: As I reached my late forties, although my weight was in an acceptable range with the balanced diet that I was promoting as a Weight Watchers leader, which included dairy products of skim milk, cheese and cottage cheese — all which I loved and enjoyed very much, I found I was experiencing new, miserable colds every 6 weeks, and promptly passing them on to my husband. After reading several articles that dairy products were not healthful and could be a factor, we agreed to go for 6 weeks without dairy just to see, and neither of us experienced a cold! We extended it to 3 months and have never looked back. The continual congestion in his throat that my husband had been experiencing, though not really a cold, vanished within the first week or two. We read more and I published a couple of articles here at Meridian about the detriments of milk, and though many readers were up in arms as this is so controversial, there were many that reported that they, too, and their children, had much better health overall and far fewer colds once they let the dairy products go. I’ll let you do your own googling on this, but don’t be surprised with what you read, and seriously consider testing it as we did. We do enjoy almond and soy milk and have even managed to kick the cravings for cheese.

An Herbal Detox: I’ve had many people tell me that colds and illness that they and their families experience are much less frequent after starting our herbal detox that we share here at Meridian. Drink one or two cups within the first few hours and day of a cold or flu bug often kicks it before it settles into your body, and many mothers tell us how helpful it is for managing colds with children. Click HERE for more information and to order.

Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol: As strange as this one seems, it often works and we can vouch for it. We have it handy in every bathroom ready for the first sign of cold or the flu. Hold your head to the side over the sink, and pour one capful into your ear. Let it bubble and tickle away for at least a minute or two, then drain it and repeat on the other side. When we first heard about this, we thought it was ridiculous … but it worked! It must be done within the first few hours of feeling the cold coming on to stop the germs in their tracks. You can google to learn more as many medical sites provide the documentation and more instruction. It should never be done if you have experienced a broken ear drum. It doesn’t work every time, but often enough to try it every time we feel a cold coming on.

Wash Your Hands:
  Hand washing is probably the best way for most of us to avoid getting common viral infections.  Wash often in warm water with soap for at least 15 seconds (Singing Happy Birthday is the right amount of time!) And don’t forget to always keep them away from your face, nose and ears where germs can enter your body.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep: When you’re not well rested, your immune system function suffers greatly. Strive for at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

Clean and Disinfect Regularly: By using vinegar and common household cleaners, you can stop the spread of germs around your home. Focus on areas that are often touched by hands, like doorknobs, counters, and trash cans.

Eat A Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly: Both of these healthy habits have been shown to keep your immune system functioning at a higher level.

Avoid These Two Things: Stress and People with Colds! Though difficult to eliminate, this is often where our colds start. Though it seems unfriendly, you may want to consider not shaking hands over the winter months, as one never knows where others have been or the bugs that they are passing on.

Get A Flu Shot: A flu shot will greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu, and lessen the severity of the flu if you do get it. Plus, you’ll help protect others with weaker immune systems, such as infants and the elderly, from getting your flu.

So there it is!  Our best defense against the cold and flu is a healthy, happy lifestyle, as well as these smart steps that will help boost your immune system.  And none of them are that hard to implement!

So much of life, it seems, from Barbie doll shoes that never stay on, to family challenges that break our hearts, to the common cold, are an important part of our mortal journey. Though they may never go away, they are always an opportunity to recognize that this life is not Heaven, but a proving ground to help us strengthen common sense, patience and faith and a reminder to turn to our Heavenly Father for comfort and patience.

LINKS:
Vitamin C Study and Results
http://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/hemila/karlowski/
or the Reader’s Digest version of it HERE
http://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/will-taking-vitamin-c-prevent-you-from-getting-a-cold.aspx

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson Tennessee, close to Memphis where they center their online business and enjoy the beautiful sunsets from their back porch.