At least where I live, cold and flu season has announced its arrival loud and clear. Seems like everybody is either sniffling and sneezing or else cancelling plans due to a vicious stomach virus. If you're looking for some new ways to prevent a cold, beyond the old stand-bys (orange juice, chicken soup), try these less traditional immunity-boosting tricks:
Eat raw garlic. Both scientific studies and folk medicine support the idea that consuming garlic prevents colds. Explains Anahad O'Connor of the New York Times, "One possible explanation for such benefits is that a compound called allicin, the main biologically active component of garlic, blocks enzymes that play a role in bacterial and viral infections. Or perhaps people who consume enough garlic simply repel others, and thus steer clear of their germs." Eat it in salad dressing or pasta sauce on nights when you're planning on staying in with somebody who loves you no matter how your breath smells.
Take a cold shower every morning. That's one of the anecdotally supported ways to prevent a cold revealed in the book Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick. (Personally, I might prefer suffering a plugged nose all day to facing a bracing shower first thing in the morning.)
Avoid kids when you can. School-age children are likely to get you sick and the colds you catch from them are likely to bring more nasty symptoms, according to (not exactly groundbreaking) research. If you're a parent or involved grandparent to school-aged kids, at least try not to share cups, utensils, etc., with them, and lay off the mouth kissing at this time of year (if you can stand to!).
But if your cold prevention efforts fail, try one of these natural cold remedies. And consider taking probiotics—a recent study found that two particular probiotics shortened the length of colds and reduced their symptoms—those popping the probiotic supplements experienced less severe symptoms and felt better two days sooner than students on a placebo. "Cold symptoms like a stuffy nose and sore throat are the body's inflammatory response toward a virus, not a direct action of the virus itself," explained study author Tracey J. Smith, RD, in a statement. "Probiotic microorganisms may soften your immune system's reaction by reducing your body's inflammatory response." (The probiotics studied are called Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, or LGG, and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis, or BB-12.)
For more ways to prevent a cold, check out my previous post, 5 Ways to Prevent Colds and the Flu.