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5 ways to keep the sniffles at bay!

5 ways to keep the sniffles at bay!


I've had more colds in the past year than I've had in my entire almost 36 years  of existence - no exaggeration. 

September - first cold of the academic year.

November - had  a cold which turned into laryngitis and lost my voice for almost three days. (Yes, the world was a quieter place for a brief spell).

December - had a cold which turned into a chest infection.

February - had strep throat which had started off as cold.

April - had a cold.

At the time of writing - I have, yup, you guessed it, a cold. It is currently sitting in my chest and every now and again I hock up an impressive amount of phlegm. Beautiful.

It has been highly frustrating and has left my wondering what has happened to the superior immune system I once boasted? I used to laugh in the face of those afflicted with the common cold. Pah! Common cold? Not I! Nothing brings the Ginger Warrior down!  Well, apparently it does. 

So what better subject to post about this fine snotty day than tried and tested ways to keep pesky colds at bay?  It's unlikely you'll find anything new and revelatory, it's all fairly straight forward and common sensical but if, like me, you find yourself held hostage in Phlegm City on a regular basis, then any advice/reminders/tips surely wouldn't go amiss.

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Why do I find this one so, darn hard?? This is most definitely the biggest bone of contention when it comes to Craigy Boy and I - I'm a night owl and rare is the occasion that I'm in bed before midnight. Craigy on the other hand likes to be all snuggled up by 10.30pm at the latest. This could explain a) why he gets less colds and b) why he look so darn good for his age! (That and the small fortune he spends on Clinique products.)

It's no secret that a good night's sleep helps to keep our immune system in tip top condition and results from scientific studies back this up:

The Archives of Internal Medicine,

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A no-brainer, so you'd think, but I still can't believe how many people I see go into a toilet cubicle, do their business, exit the cubicle and walk straight out the door. Their business is now your business as soon as you touch the door handle. Proper hand washing is a free and highly effective way to prevent germs spreading from one unsuspecting soul to the next and according to health experts this is the way to do it:


I'm not sure I'm quite so through and vigorous (20 seconds to wash and another 10 to rinse??) but maybe I ought to be and perhaps it's my lacklustre approach to hand washing that is responsible for my recurring colds.

Scrub, scrub, scrub my soapy Warriors!

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The benefits of Vitamin C in saving us from the sniffles are well-documented (and debated) but did you know that regular Zinc supplements could reduce the number of colds we catch and how long they last? It is thought that the zinc may work by preventing the rhinovirus from multiplying and from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. I forgot that the common cold was called the rhinovirus. Sorry, I can't come in to work today, I have a rhino in my nose.  

Well, it made me laugh anyway.

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Cold germs and viruses can survive on surfaces for hours so why not grab a bottle of disinfectant and give tabletops, toys, remote controls, door knobs e.t.c. a good, old spray down?  Don't obsess, however - you're never going to keep a house completely sterile. What's more, according to the hygiene hypothesis, exposing children to a certain level of dirt and grime is both beneficial and essential since it promotes the development of a healthy immune system. So don't panic if your cherubs swallows a mouthful of dirt with a couple of worms thrown in for good measure - they're simply building up immunity for later in life. Mud pie, anyone?

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The hustle and bustle of hectic modern day living can wreak havoc on our poor old immune system. If it could speak to us it would be saying "take it easy buddy, I can only keep going at this pace for so long before I need a serious time out".  That serious time out is when you become ill:  it's your immune system seeking revenge for pushing it too hard, for too long. Why do we do it to ourselves? When did it get to the stage that our default state of being is feeling frazzled and wiped out? There's a monumental difference between working hard and working yourself into the ground. My advice, for what it's worth, is step back and ask yourself: WHO are you doing it for? Who is thanking you for your excessive toil and labour?  Not your health and well-being, that's for sure! Take some time off, go for a run along a beach, treat yourself to that long overdue spa treatment, change direction in life. DO SOMETHING to give yourself some breathing space and time to reflect and take stock. You're a long time dead so there's no point in sending yourself off to an early grave.

Any more cold repelling tips and tricks, (2)

Ginger Warrior, over and out.

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  1. I found years ago when I was suffering from colds/flu every third week bang on the dot, that the only thing to break the cycle and help me was echinacea. I always have a tub of tablets, for when I feel like I’m getting ill!

  2. I swear by Echinacea too Ceri …..have done for years x

  3. Drinking lots of water helps !!

  4. I take Vit D daily and have a stock of Tesco Max Strength Echinacea which I take at the first sign of a cold.

  5. Hope you are feeling better Ceri aka GW!
    Echinacea is a great product to use,either in tablet or tincture form.However,it is best taken for a few months of the year…not just when you feel the onset of a cold.I advise to start taking it round about October time…straight through until May time.If you get a cold Inbetween,then take the tincture form.I used to work for H&B….it’s a very popular product.

    • The Ginger Warrior

      Loads of people have recommended this, so there must be something to it. Thanks Kerry. From Ceri. 😉 xxx

  6. Once you have the cold and cough then coat your feet in VIC and put on a pair of socks will stop the coughing :)

  7. I am happy to say that I have not had a cold since 2001 (knock on wood :) ) What’s my secret? I retired from the teaching profession and was no longer constantly exposed to all the germs!! :) I’ve heard many people recommend the zinc and Echinacea when you first feel a cold coming on.

  8. Hi Ceri,

    I had really bad colds whilst I was in my last flat. It turns out that the ventilation wasn’t great. My friend told me to get a dehumidifier and open the windows more. I did this for three months. Brilliant!! I moved to a place that had big bay windows and even in winter I open them. It’s made a huge difference

  9. Just got a cold for the first time since February 13, and I am a not a good ill person so will be off to get the Echinacea today!
    Very timely blog for me, thank you x

  10. 5 a day helps, and eating lots of kiwis. This sounds mean but really stay away from people, especially family members with colds otherwise the cold never seem to go!

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