You know about antioxidants and you’ve been religious about your daily dose of Vitamin C, but what else can you do to keep that tickle from creeping up the back of your throat or waking up in sweat-wet sheets and a chill shivering along your spine? Here are some of the weirder, but still efficient ways to keep those sick bugs at bay:
1. Kiss (and while you’re at it, have Sex)!
Yes, kissing can help you fight off colds and flu! By exchanging bacteria back and forth, you are actually enhancing your body’s natural defenses and boosting your immune system. But that’s not to say you should go out and give a big smooch to any sicky around you…
Up the ante and have sex! Performed once a week, sex has been shown to increase immunoglobulin A (IgA) production, an immune-boosting protein that helps keep pathogens at bay.
2. Listen to music.
Research has shown that those same sex-boosted IgA proteins also rise when listening to music like jazz, bluegrass or soft rock for 30 minutes, particularly during some of the most elevated sick-inducing moments: stress. Even after the beat is turned off, the IgA production goes on for another 30 minutes.
3. Walk Really Fast, But Don’t Run!
Research has revealed that a brisk walk 45 minute walk, four or more days a week can improve your immune system and minimize sick days. But don’t run! Overexerting yourself (particularly if you’re already feeling slightly under the weather) can do you in and send you straight to bed.
4. Don’t Blow Your Nose.
When you’re sick you nose tends to get stuffed up with mucus. Instead of fulfilling your urge to do a big hearty blow, take a decongestant or gently blow each nostril individually. Why? Blowing hard can actually push the mucus up into your sinuses, risking getting even more sick!
5. Get Hot!
Studies show that, similar to drinking lots of water when you’re sick, sitting in a hot sauna can detox a cold right out of your system.
6. Avoid the Desert (or any hot and dry climate).
Dry desert air is a breeding ground for colds and flu. The reason? Viruses tend to survive longer in moisture-sapped air, making airborne illnesses more readily present. Have a sicky in your house? Get a humidifier.
7. Drink Coffee!
Viruses, in particular that gross Swine that’s going around, take about three days to incubate (in your body) before you know you’ve come down with the dreaded flu. Drinking hot liquids, including coffee (!) can help wash the virus out of your mouth and down into your stomach where it can’t grow due to the acids. Not a coffee drinker? Chicken soup, tea, or just hot water have the same effect. Gargling with very salty warm water can also derail a virus. The other place a flu likes to incubate is your nose. Doing a nasal flush or even just swabbing your nostrils with rubbing alcohol can kill the virus before it takes you down.