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Five ways to kick winter colds to the curb

Stay tuned each Monday to learn from Healthy Monday, SU’s health initiative!

By Elizabeth Holtan, Healthy Monday

It’s that time of year again, when coughing, sniffling and germs are in the air. If you’re like me— feeling sluggish and on the verge of getting sick— here are a few things you can do to keep healthy when a winter cold is closing in.

Emergen-C: These little packets of vitamins are chock-full of energy-boosting vitamins, namely Vitamin C. They come in several tasty flavors (avoid the Acai berry!) and easily dissolve in room-temperature water. Emergen-C is like liquid perkiness, which happens to have a nice fizzy orange, tangerine or pink lemonade taste. It’ll do wonders not just to wake you up, but also to arm your immune system with awesome cold-fighting weapons.

Electrolytes: They’re an important ingredient in Emergen-C, but you might recognize them better in sports drinks like Gatorade. Electrolytes are essential for the cells in your body to transmit electrical impulses, especially heart, nerve and muscle cells. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, so it’s very important to replace them. You can buy a big bottle of concentrated electrolytes to add to water or orange juice, and you’ll be amazed at how fast your head and vision clears up if you’re feeling under the weather.

Lemon honey teaHot tea: Green tea is a great energy booster, but when you’re feeling sick, it’s good to cut back on the caffeine. Hot water with freshly squeezed lemon and honey does wonders to soothe the throat, but this ancient remedy has great antiseptic qualities as well.

Exercise: If you’re already sick, it’s best to skip the gym. However, getting regular exercise not only strengthens your immune system, it gives you more energy and makes you feel great. Don’t go if you’re feeling symptoms like a fever, chest cold or achy muscles, because your body will end up taking longer to heal. It’s best to stay at home if you have a very runny nose, too, if even just out of courtesy for your fellow gym-goers.

Lysine: Yes, it’s a pill, but wouldn’t you rather take one than suffer through days of looking and feeling miserable? Lysine is an essential amino acid; your body needs it to survive, but can’t produce it naturally. Fish and beans are a great source of lysine, but if you’re staring a cold in the face, popping one of those pills is like giving your immune system a baseball bat to hit those symptoms out of the park. Not only that, taking more lysine lowers the risk of hypertension, which causes heart attacks and strokes. You can buy them in bottles that run around $9; treat your body to some lysine and it will thank you!

Since there’s no cure for the common cold yet, the best we can do is to prevent ourselves from getting sick in the first place. Try thinking of yourself as a car that needs regular maintenance to keep from breaking down and costing thousands in repair work. If you invest a little time in your health, it will pay off. Stay warm and take care of yourself!

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