Your Cold Season Cheat Sheet

Despite the extra hand washing and cough covering, we have all fallen victim to the merciless winter cold at one time or another. Those sneaky germs have one job, and they are fighting hard to get it done. Fight harder with these pro-tips from one of our wellness specialists, Joel Hall.

Cold Prevention

Optimize  D3 levels (2,000-4,000 IU)

  • Our genetic code contains approximately 3,000 genes and Vitamin D affects around 3,000! Don’t let the winter blues put you at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin C 1,000 mgs  daily

  • This notorious cold combatant gives your body the antioxidant boost it needs to fight off free radicals and bacteria.

Minimize Refined Sugar intake

  • Glucose and Vitamin C compete with each other in the human body, therefore, more sugar means less Vitamin C.

Adequate Rest

  • Need an excuse to take a nap? Well, here it is. Poor sleep lowers T-cells, which are a number one line of defense against viruses. Adults should aim for at least 7 hours, while toddlers and teens need anywhere from 8-10 hours.

Regular Exercise

  • We aren’t necessarily talking about a boot camp class, though that wouldn’t hurt! Moderate intensity is sufficient enough to increase white blood cell production, which lowers your risk of infection. A 30 min jaunt on your lunch break is a great place to start!

Cleanliness is Next to Coldlessness 

Practice good cold season hygiene!

  • Wash your hands with hot water for at least 20 seconds, before and after eating (and all of the other obvious times).
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.
  • If you’re sick, avoid contact with people, especially the elderly and infants. You may want to stay home during the days you are coughing and sneezing most.
  • Wear a mask if you go to the doctor. We need our healthcare providers to stay healthy.
  • If you’re not sick, avoid contact with those who are and feel free to offer them an extra shirt to sneeze into.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often.

Feel the sniffles coming on?

One dose of Vitamin D3 25,000 IU, followed by 2,000-4,000 daily thereafter.

  • An initial mega dose of Vitamin D3 could slash the lifespan of your nasty virus in half!

2,000 mgs of Vitamin C in divided doses (500-1000 mg each)

  • Fear you’ll forget to take your vitamins? Hit the grocery store for some dark leafy greens, red peppers, kiwi,  broccoli, papaya or berries. Start your day with a smoothie, and let the blender do the work!

Andrographis 300-600 mg, 2-3x a day

  • Popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this herb is proving to be effective at knocking out your cold when symptoms first hit. Native to India and Sri Lanka, the flowers and leaves of this plant can stimulate the immune system when taken for the first 3-5 days of symptoms.

Staff Picks

Here are some products that our staff swears by for cold prevention and treatment.

General Immune System Boosting

Cassi’s Pick: Maine Medicinals Elderberry Syrup

I take 1 teaspoon once daily. At the first sign of a cold, I increase the dose to twice daily and double my vitamin D intake to 10,000 IU.

Ingredients (1 tsp):

  • Proprietary blend – 2.78 g
    • American Elderberry
    • European Elderberry
    • Blueberry
    • American Elderflower

Cold Treatment

Here are our staff’s favorite products for combating a cold. The general consensus is to start treatment as soon as symptoms appear.

Stephen’s Pick: Guaifenesin

If there is any congestion in the chest or nose due to mucus, I highly recommend the plain Mucinex or Coastal’s store brand called Mucus Relief, both in blue boxes. I mention blue boxes because there are other colors in each of the product lines that have additional (and sometimes unnecessary) ingredients.

The products in the blue boxes contain only guaifenesin which is a mucolytic agent, meaning it helps break up thick mucus.  Along with drinking plenty of water, this can bring significant relief to those suffering from productive coughs or nasal congestion from mucus accumulation.

Follow dosing instructions on the package. Medical literature indicates that a person can take up to 2400mg of Guaifenesin a day in divided doses.  The Mucinex products have a nice time release capsule which can bring relief over long periods of time, such as throughout the night while sleeping.

This has been my personal “go to” remedy for years.

Kim’s Pick: Cold Front by Pioneer

I take 6 per day at the first sign of a cold until the bottle is empty (10 days). It’s packed with cold-fighting ingredients and reduces the length of my colds more than any other product I’ve tried.

Ingredients (6 tablets):

  • Vitamin A – 6,000 IU
  • Vitamin C – 1,000 mg
  • Zinc – 15 mg
  • Monolaurin – 1,500 mg
  • Andrographis – 1,200 mg
  • Elderberry – 425 mg
  • Astragalus – 250 mg
  • Propolis 2X – 250 mg
  • Olive Leaf – 100 mg
  • Ginger – 100 mg

Pam’s Pick: Quick Defense by Gaia

Gaia Quick DefenseI take it at the very first sign of a cold to kick it before it sets in.

Ingredients (2 capsules):

  • Echinacea Extract Blend – 100 mg
    • Echinacea Purpurea
    • Echinacea Angustifolia
  • Proprietary Extract Blend – 598 mg
    • Elderberry Fruit Juice
    • Andrographis
    • Ginger

About the Author

Joel Hall

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness Staff

At Coastal, Joel is our go-to guy for anything related to supplementation and the complex role nutrients play in every bodily function. Although he may seem reserved, being able to help people find their way to optimal health drives what he does. If you see him staring intently at his computer screen, he’s most likely researching something that most of us can only partly understand. He loves sharing his accumulated knowledge and spends as much time as necessary to explain things in a way to help you make good health decisions. He's been working in the wellness arena since the early 2000's and has been in the pursuit of nutritional knowledge since way before that. You can find him behind the wellness desk Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information read our profile on Joel.

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