Let battle commence
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 09:16
martian77 in General, colds

I think I fooled a few people with the title of my last post. I'm sorry to everyone who clicked on it assuming I would actually be talking about boots! 

I said at the end of that post that I'd be trying to keep up the cycling and running as long as I don't get too many colds. Now, whilst I know that a good chunk of cold-getting is down to luck and who I bump into at the wrong time, I still believe there are things I can do to make myself stronger and cope better with them. I try different things most years, if I'm honest. Last year I was going with pro-biotics, multi-vitamins, echinacea, and occasionally andrographis. I can't say it was entirely successful, what with getting the worst chest infection I've ever had. 

So this year, I'm modifying my approach. I've done some more reading around (not talking peer-reviewed journals, maybe next year), and this year I will be taking vitamin c and zinc tablets (vitamin c is apparently useless for a cold, but zinc is shown to have some affect at reducing the number of colds and the duration of the colds apparently).

I'm also attempting to keep the snot/phlegm/gunk moving at all times, to attempt to avoid any bacterial buildup. For that I've started using nasel irrigation (or a neti pot). I'm surprised by how much clearer my nose feels and it doesn't hurt at all, but it is a little gross. The charmingly-named Booger Doctor has a whole series of success stories with sinusitis and nasel irrigation, and he recommends adding honey as a natural antibiotic. Again, sounds revolting, but actually feels ok. There has been a bit of a scare after a couple of people in Louisiana and one in Pakistan died after using a neti pot, but the suggestion seems to be to use boiled water. I figure it's relatively risk free, doesn't cost a lot, and worth a go. 

The exercise itself is part of the plan actually. Again, it's mostly hearsay, but people say that if you get to quite high level of exercise (like around 10 hours per week) you don't seem to get as sick. Since that tallies with some of my personal goals, I figure it's worth a shot (but I'd be doing it anyway, this is just extra motivation). 

The last thing I'm trying is probably the most weird. Again, it's an effort to get rid of the bacteria before they get dug in. It's called "oil pulling" - basically you spend 10 minutes swishing a tablespoon of sunflower oil around your mouth. Apparently that traps the bacteria, and then you spit it (and them) out. Again, sounds implausible, but some studies have shown a reduction in Streptococcus Mutens (??) and it doesn't cost a lot or take much effort, so I'm giving it a go. 

All of this is also being done along side taking my normal asthma medication. I've also decided to stick with the pro-biotic - my stomach seems to be upset by colds (and very upset by anti-biotics), and honestly the pro-biotic does seem to help. I don't really care if it's a placebo effect or not if I feel better and don't throw up, so I'm going with it. I have read a study that did show some kind of positive effect, which some people have discredited because it was paid for by Yakult.

I've already had my first 2-week cold of the season, which is what kicked me into reading more about it. I know I'll still get colds, but maybe, just maybe, they won't be quite as bad. We'll see. Oh, and when I get one? I'll still be taking the decongestants. 

Article originally appeared on Life on Mars (http://www.martiandaze.net/).
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