Here's a new way to prevent cold and flu I hadn't heard before: Take an ice cold shower. Everyday.
At least it's cheaper than a stockpile of vitamins and easier than making chicken soup. And sometimes I'd consider giving up my last born in exchange for a cold & flu remedy. (Well, only on the days he's teething.)
The FDA's website even mentions cold showers as cold & flu therapy. Who knew?
According to this cool health blog, Own Your Health, all you do is stand under cold water for 60 seconds after your hot shower every day. It takes about six weeks to start working. Begin with just cold feet and hands, then slowly work your whole body in. It feels great--so I hear.
There are six reasons cold showers boost your immune system, states a book called Health 2.0: Tap Into the Healing Powers of Water to Fight Disease, Look Younger and Feel Your Best:
- A cold shower increases lymphocytes in the blood. Lymphocytes produce antibodies, which help fight germs.
- A cold shower increases blood flow in all organs, especially skin, heart and lungs. The pharynx/larynx ( organs of the throat) also benefit from the increased blood flow, and are better able to kill viruses.
- A brief cold water shower decreases your body’s “reaction time” to cold. The cold shower “teaches” the blood vessels in your skin to clamp down faster, so you lose less warmth in draft or cold exposure.
- Gamma interferon and interleukin-4 are two important virus-fighting cytokines (immune system proteins). A new German study has shown that cold water exposure helps these two disease-fighters work better together, resulting in fewer viral colds.
- A cold shower makes you breathe deeply. (A big gasp when the cold water hits the skin!) A deep breath opens closed or clogged alveoli (small air sacs in the lungs) which are then less prone to bronchitis and pneumonia. And deeper breathing means more oxygen for the whole body.
- And a cold shower lifts your mood. Depressed people get more colds – probably because depression lowers immunity. A brisk cold shower has been proven to lift the mood and lower stress, both of which jump start the immune response – which kills flu and cold germs.
In the meantime, what do you think about cold showers to keep from getting sick? Would you try it?