The Advice Nerd

Hello, Skyline College. My name is John Harrison, online editor of The Skyline View, and I’m really, really sick. My nose is leaking strange fluids, my head is aching from sinus pressure, and my throat hurts from coughing so much. Although nobody has really asked me this question, I think it may be on everybody’s mind:John, what can I do to avoid the torturous illness that has befallen your nostrils?Maybe I’m not the right person to ask, considering I’m sitting here typing this with a wad of tissue in one hand and a head full of cold medicine, but I’ll do my best to tell you how you can stay healthy while people around you are dropping like flies… coughing flies.

Stay away from meThis one is kind of obvious. If you don’t want to take the chance of getting ill, stay as far away as possible from people who are showing signs of sickness. They might take offense that you don’t want to share in their painful sniffling, but you should calmly explain to them that you don’t want to get sick. Of course, you should be on the phone or at least 20 feet away from them at the time… for safety purposes.

Wash your handsGuys, this one goes out to you especially. I’m not being sexist or anything, but guys have a tendency not to wash their hands after using the toilet. This can cause problems when holding your girlfriend’s hand or eating food. The bathroom is a breeding-ground for evil germs, so make sure to stay clean… contact with one’s own urine (pee-pee) or excrement (poopie) can be dangerous to your health. Also, it’s important to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. Although it’s a good thing to cover your nose and mouth, the germs can be spread through contact with your hands, so wash them often.

Antibiotic soap?No. Antibiotic soap may actually strengthen the bad bacteria on your hands. When using soap, many hard-to-reach places are left only semi-clean. Soap only reaches those places minimally and drastically diluted, allowing bacteria to thrive. Studies show that bacteria adapts to the effects of antibiotics, so the bacteria hiding in those shady places on your body that only get semi-clean actually develop an immunity to the antibiotic soap. They are then allowed to spread and thrive and cause the illness you’re trying to avoid. Thus, antibiotic soap provides no real benefit and helps the little buggers by making them stronger. Antiseptics, on the other hand, kill germs dead.

Don’t touch the groundThe ground is covered with spit. Look around you next time you’re outside. There are people spitting all over the place. They gather mucus from deep within the recesses of their throats and expel globs of yellow goop onto the concrete. Do you want to be touching that? That mucus could contain crawling germs that are just itching to get into your body. My advice to you is to refrain from licking the bottom of your shoes.

Immune system boostA healthy immune system is the only sure-fire way, in my opinion, of fighting off those nasty colds. Eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and participating in plenty of stress-free activities can help strengthen your immunity. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help a great deal if you can’t find ways to get your daily requirements in food. Also, drinking plenty of fluids will help to wash the bad stuff out of your body. Drinking about sixty-four ounces of water a day should do the trick, according to WebMD. Can’t imagine drinking that much water? Well, neither can I, so just drink as much as you feel comfortable with. Staying hydrated is a key step in remaining healthy.

No Smoking or drinkingPut the cigarette down. Smokers are more likely to become ill than non-smokers, and when they do get sick, their colds will be more severe. Smoke will dry out the nostrils, making your cilia useless. Cilia are tiny hair-like things in your nasal passages that collect particles out of the air. They clean the air you breathe. Smoke from a cigarette will paralyze your cilia, allowing all sorts of evil germs into your body. Drinking also provides complications when fighting a cold. Alcohol harms the liver (that little organ in your body that filters out germs), making it so that germs don’t exit the body as quickly. Alcohol also sucks water out of you… it dehydrates you, making the cleansing process even more difficult and time-consuming.

Ok, that’s all I can think of. If you’ve got any more suggestions on how to battle the common cold, or if you have a question to ask me about anything your little heart desires, feel free to e-mail The Skyline View at [email protected]. Anything you send is the property of The Skyline View and might be published.