I used to be one to really suffer from the common cold. Stuffy nose for weeks, sneezing, chafed skin on my nose, exhaustion and all the nice little things that tend to accompany a bad case of the common cold used to be regular occurrences in my life.
With two small kids in daycare, our house is no stranger to bugs and colds. Right now both of the boys have got a cough and sore throats. But me? I haven’t had a proper cold for ages. Often when the boys are ill, I feel a little something, such as a slightly funny feeling in my throat, almost like the bug was just hanging about, biding for its time.
Whenever I get that feeling, I take a good dose of fermented cod liver oil (cinnamon flavored butter oil blend to be precise), make sure to take my vitamin D and maybe throw in a little zinc for good measure. Be it placebo effect or an actual effect, I haven’t had a proper cold after I’ve started this routine. Well, I had one, but that was when I was traveling and didn’t have access to my little pharmacy.
Fermented cod liver oil is quite expensive, so I don’t take it regularly. I only take a spoonful when I feel myself coming down with something. I’ve read online that some other people do this too with good results. It would be great if someone did some research on the subject. Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing this unless it suddenly stops working. I don’t miss the colds one bit.
Having said that, I realize that this trick will probably not work unless you get enough rest and look after yourself. Depriving yourself of a good night’s sleep or otherwise putting stress on your system (such as eating junk food, drinking, smoking, stressing or doing too much high-intensity exercise), will result in your immune system having more to take on and not having the time to work against the viruses. Social support also helps when fighting viruses. Interestingly, extroverts don’t get the flu as easily as introverts.
It is important to remember that being exposed to a virus does not automatically mean infection. One study infected seventeen healthy individuals with the flu virus by inserting it into their noses. (I can’t see myself volunteering for this. Those poor, penniless college students.) 95% of the subjects caught the virus, which made itself comfortable in their nasal passage. In spite of the virus’s presence, nearly half of the subjects did not experience any symptoms.
These researchers studied the genome of those who got sick and those who didn’t. The genes that were more active in the individuals who remained healthy, were connected with antioxidant activity.
No one knows what this means exactly. We can only guess. Perhaps these people are just born lucky, or perhaps some things they do (say, eating an anti-oxidant containing apple a day?) might help them fight off infection.
Since research is still inconclusive, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing since it seems to work for me. And that’s all I need. Oh, and by the way, I don’t get any dirty cod liver oil money for saying what I say. I wish I did, but I don’t.
And since no discussion of the infectious diseases is complete without this one:
Remember to wash your hands. That is one infection prevention method that everyone agrees on.