How to Fight Off a Sore Throat and Cold

Q. I have a sore throat and feel a cold coming on. Help!

A. Indoor air breeds colds and coughs, but commonsense therapies -- like eating fruits and veggies and scrubbing hands clean -- are still the most effective ways to keep germs at bay this winter.

Green tea is excellent for preventing and treating colds. Its immune-system boosters help fight off viruses, and the caffeine gives a gentle lift. Studies have shown that green tea (steeped 3 to 5 minutes) is the best food source of catechins, plant compounds that halt oxidative damage to cells. 

Try our Green Tea with Lemon and Pomegrante flavored with fresh, anti-inflammatory ginger and pomegranate for an added nutrient punch. 

Our Citrus Salad with Cashews and Mint is bursting with vitamin C, and your body absorbs extra cold-fighting antioxidants from the combo of pink grapefruit (which also contains the phytochemical lycopene) and healthy fats like those found in cashews.

Echinacea may shorten the duration of a cold if taken within the first day or two of symptoms. Chinese medicinal herbs (found in the supplement Cold Away) can also help. 

Zinc lozenges may reduce the membrane inflammation associated with sore throats, but avoid gels and other zinc nasal products: Research from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that zinc nasal gels can lead to permanent loss of smell.

Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) and frequently. Hand-to-hand contact is one of the main avenues of transmission for rhinovirus, the germ that causes about 35 percent of common colds. 

To relieve a mild stuffy nose, irrigate nasal passages with a saline rinse or try a steam inhalation.

Read more from our Winter Wellness Guide.

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