It’s Cold and Flu Season. What Might Help?

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by Nils Osmar. Updated October 17, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

Want to have an easier time of it during cold and flu season? What you eat, drink, and do have all been shown to have an impact on your immune system and its ability to fight off viral respiratory infections.

Note: Listing items below is not meant to suggest an endorsement. Some interventions (like taking hot baths and showers) have both medical and epidemiological studies suggesting they may have benefits. Others (like putting a few drops of diluted hydrogen peroxide in the ears) have only anecdotal evidence to support them – a much lower standard of proof. None of the interventions discussed below are intended as or should be taken as medical advice.

What might help?

No intervention is guaranteed to help everyone. And of course this is not intended as medical advice. But there are studies suggesting that there may be benefits to the following. For more information, click the linked words.

  • Getting some exercise.
  • Getting some sun exposure.
  • Taking hot baths or saunas.
  • Doing prolonged fasting or fasting mimicking diets (when we’re not sick) to reboot our immune systems.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Optimizing your sleep.
  • Nasal irrigation.
  • Using Xylitol nasal spray
  • Some doctors advocate letting a fever burn (though not all agree with this recommendation). Fever is the body’s way of fighting infections. Speaking anecdotally, I usually let fevers burn rather than taking aspirin or other medications to lower them.
  • Rinsing or gargling with hydrogen peroxide – or even, as odd as it sounds, putting a few drops in your ears. (I’ve actually done this, and had a bad cold completely vanish within a few hours. My doctor thought it was a placebo effect. Could be – but (1) it was harmless, and (2) it worked for me and (3) I haven’t had a cold that lasted more than a few hours since learning about it) (I start with 2 percent hydrogen peroxide and dilute it down to 1 percent, and use a whole dropper full in each ear.)
  • Rinsing or gargling with mouthwashes such as Listerine.

Supplements that may help

Food and Drink

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplements. All supplements can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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