My Top Tips!
The sun is shining and your dreams of flip-flops, lemonade and a trip to the beach are finally becoming a reality. Then out of nowhere, a cold knocks you flat. That dreadful, ill-timed spring cold.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this position, you know that a spring cold can be more insidious than its winter counterpart. It isn’t your imagination. Not only does it clash terribly with its backdrop of sun & fun, but it is the nature of enteroviruses (a group of viruses commonly linked to warm-weather colds) to hit hard and to last longer.
Characteristics of Enteroviruses (“Warm-weather colds”)
- They thrive in warmer temperatures.
- Symptoms are similar to the common cold, but may be more severe – headache, sore throat, fever, cough & congestion and digestive distress.
- They are transferred by fecal-to-oral route (think bathroom doorknobs) as well as inhalation of the airborne virus (achoo!) and contact with contaminated surfaces (keyboards, phones, etc.)
- They are linked to overexertion & strenuous exercise.2
- Half of the people who catch them are asymptomatic carriers3.
- Recurrence is common.
My Tips For Avoiding The Spring Cold
1. Wash your hands.
While you can’t always control your environment, you can wash your hands frequently and effectively. Using soap, rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds then rinse them well under running water.
For a natural antibacterial spray to use when you can’t get to a sink, dilute a little tea tree oil in water in a travel-sized bottle and rub it into your hands as needed. Although this refreshes hands similarly to a hand sanitizer, neither is as effective as hand washing.
2. Eat an immune-boosting diet.
- Include more immune-boosting foods such as kefir, coconut oil, turmeric & ginger, quality protein shakes and fresh-pressed juice (find 3 of my favorite juice recipes here).
- Limit foods that zap the immune system – dairy, gluten, sugar and alcohol.
3. Sweat a little every day.
Exercise increases metabolism and circulation, pushing toxins to the surface and expelling them through the skin’s pores via sweat. A brisk walk, a jog or some time on a fitness machine all do the trick.
While moderate exercise can keep a cold at bay, resist the temptation to dive into a sudden and strenuous “swimsuit-bound” workout routine. Overexertion creates the perfect environment for an entirovirus to take hold.
4. Try astragalus – a medicinal herb.
Astragalus is one of my favorite adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens help people “adapt” during time of stress or transition and can make the body more resilient when dealing with spring stressors, positive though they may be – changes in routine, coordinating children’s schedules and vacation planning & travel.
5. Get your vitamin D.
Vitamin D regulates and strengthens the immune system, shifting it from a pro-inflammatory state to a more tolerogenic status. Simply put, it makes the immune system more tolerant instead of hyper-reactive and for this reason it can be particularly helpful in the treatment of auto-immune disorders.
Vitamin D also helps prevent spring colds by destabilizing bacteria, viruses and fungi.4
By the end of summer, your vitamin D levels will have reached their peak. But deficiency is still a distinct possibility, particularly if you have darker skin or live in higher latitudes, in which case the essential nutrient may not be as easily absorbed.
To be safe, have your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor. If you are low, you will likely need to supplement with vitamin D3.
6. Vitamin C & Hydration
Don’t forget to keep hydrated with plenty of water, especially as the weather warms and you begin sweating more! Also, load up on vitamin c rich foods like oranges and lemons to keep your immune system charged. And try my Dr. Taz Spring Cold Buster if you feel any cold symptoms coming on or even better, just incorporate the juice blend weekly!
Dr. Taz Spring Cold Buster
- 3 oranges
- 1/4 lemon wedge
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup water or coconut water
- 2 mint leaves
Blend in your Vitamix and enjoy your spring!
Have you ever been hit with a spring cold at an inopportune time? Did you notice that it was worse than a winter bug?
1. WebMD. Causes of the Common Cold. June 08, 2012.
2. NBC News. Extra Insult, Colds in summer nastier, last longer. June 15, 2011.
3. NIH News in Health. Catching a Cold When it’s Warm. June 2012