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Cold prevention strategies this winter

T’is the season of Holiday Cheer but also those of runny noses and chills. Catching a cold can be a real damper on those holiday plans and some time off with the family.

Did you know that on average an adult gets 4-6 colds per year and children get an average of 6-8!1 In fact, it been estimated that the common cold accounts for 40% of time off from work and 30% of school absenteeism1. While colds can of course happen any time of year, they are more common in the winter months1.

The Mayo Clinic highlights a number of common sense strategies to help prevent the spread of the cold such as2:
Keep clean: washing hands with soap and water on a regular basis.
Keep it covered: Sneezing into tissues or the bend of the elbow to prevent the spread of germs.
Keep it to yourself: Although it’s a time of sharing – keeping your drinking glasses and utensils to yourself can help slow the spread of germs.
Keep well: Practice self care – ensure sleep, healthy foods, exercise and too much stress isn’t wearing you down
Keep away: Stay clear of those that have a cold when possible to help avoid catching it.

When step one is prevention, what about if a pesky cold takes hold? The Mayo Clinic suggests a number of self management strategies such as drinking plenty of fluids (and of course avoiding those dehydrating drinks like caffeine and alcohol), rest and downtime, saltwater gargle and even the old tried and true chicken soup which can be soothing2.

Many people have herbal medicines on hand in case they catch a pesky cold. Herbal medicines rich in flavonoids such as black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) have been used for centuries as supportive strategy to help improve cold symptoms3. The berries are a deep violet color which comes from their rich anthocyanin content; which are a type of flavonoids and considered to be the active constituent of these berries3.

Nature’s Way Sambucus, a popular black elderberry product contains a standardized extract of the active flavonoids including anthocyanins from elderberries (sambucus nigra). The easy to take liquid syrup is used in herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of colds and flus and of course is a source of antioxidants. Nature’s Way Sambucus syrup for adults and gummies are gluten free and don’t contain any artificial preservatives and it tastes great!

As always, consult with your health care practitioner to determine which strategies and products are appropriate for your individual health needs.

May this holiday season bring cheer without a cold getting you down!

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References:
1. Worrall G. Common cold. Can Fam physician Médecin Fam Can. 2011;57(11):1289-1290. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22084460. Accessed October 10, 2017.

2. Common cold – Self-management – Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/manage/ptc-20199811. Published 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017.
3. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4). doi:10.3390/nu8040182.