• Dr. Patty Hlava

How to NOT Catch a Cold

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Did you know that catching a cold is avoidable?

It is. It has much more to do with our internal environment than anything that is going on outside.

Most people I know assume that catching colds is something that is anticipated, most often in the fall and spring. It’s actually very common (thus, the “common cold”), which does not mean to say that’s it’s necessary. It’s actually quite possible to prevent a cold!

A cold will happen when our lymphatic system is unhealthy or when our immune system is depleted. Our body will always communicate with us about what’s happening inside us through signs and symptoms.

When you know how to read the signs, you know how to prevent a cold!

So, what are we to look for?

First and foremost: Mucous (aka snot)

Humans, kids and adults alike, often experience an increase in mucous—or snot—in the nose as soon as the weather turns cold. Here’s the interesting thing about snot: most often, it’s actually the result of poorly digested food, not the weather!

What foods increase snot, particularly when the weather starts to get chillier?

  • Cold cereal & milk

  • Mac & cheese

  • Ice cream

Dairy, in general, will be sure to spike up snot at the turn of the season. Why are we concerned with snot?

When we experience snot, our body is sending a sign that the stomach lining is full of excess mucous. This means that the digestive system is weak and is having a tough time really breaking down food. The excess mucous on the stomach lining blocks the absorption of nutrients and creates stagnation in the lymph system.

Why is this a problem? Your lymph system is designed to circulate nutrients, eliminate waste and fight infection. If it’s blocked and stagnant due to excess mucous, it can’t do that, and you’re primed to catch a cold!

Early Warning Signs

Watch for these messages from your body, and intervene quickly, and you’ll be sure to keep that seasonal cold at bay!

  • Snot

  • Dry skin

  • Fatigue

  • Drop in mood (low mood)

  • A white coating on the tongue

  • Bad breath (especially in the morning)

Once you know these early warning signs, you’re primed to take your health into your own hands. You can work with your body and restore balance.

If you don’t tend to these early warning signs, you could end up with things like colds, viruses, the flu, headaches, sinus infections, lung or throat infections, and allergies. No fun!

Tips to Prevent a Cold:

  • Eat warm, spiced foods on cold days

  • Add a pinch or two of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves to oatmeal

  • Substitute brown rice for pasta

  • Drink only water between meals

  • Drop ice-cream or cold dairy products once the air outside gets cold

  • Try warm milk spiced with cinnamon, turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper before bed

  • Move your body early the morning to break up lymphatic stagnation. Even 5 minutes will make a difference!

  • Make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep and rest

  • Take “boo candy” at the first signs of snot, bad breath, or a white coating on the tongue ( Recipe Below)

  • Do a seasonal cleanse

Boo Candy Recipe

This recipe has been handed down by one of my Ayurveda teachers, Cate Stillman. The name is a nod to her daughter. The recipe: well, it just simply works for kids and adults alike!

Take out a large cutting board and a wide knife

  • Pour ½ cup raw honey onto the cutting board

  • Add 3 tbsp. turmeric powder (you can dry roast it first in a skillet for added benefit). Add 2 tsp. ginger powder

  • Add 1/2 tsp. cloves

Cut the spices into the honey with the knife until you have a smooth texture.

Add more spices for the desired taste. I like to add a ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon.

Store in a small tin or small glass jar.

Put on the kitchen table in reach for all ages.

Enjoy... and keep yourself and your kids healthy this season!

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