Not Just for Drinking: Use Water to Avoid Getting Sick

November 10, 2012 | Jim Carpentier

Must See Nutrition Videos

No one likes feeling under the weather, and unfortunately we find ourselves steering right into the peak of cold and flu season. As an athlete, avoiding illness is a no-brainer. You want to avoid getting sick and having to miss practices and games. (Be Immune to Getting Sick This Season) Here are some "preventive medicine"-type prescriptions to battle germs and boost your immune system, making you less likely to get sick:

  1. Hydrate: Water and water-based foods should be the main ingredients of your health-building strategy. Consume fruits, vegetables, soups, black and green tea throughout the day. This will keep you from becoming dehydrated while also deterring germs from sticking to the back of your throat. A dry throat is a breeding ground for cold and flu germs, so you'll want to keep your throat and upper respiratory tract moist often. (See how it helped Pro-Snow Boarder Ellery Hollingsworth.)
  2. Include garlic, onions, hot mustard and hot peppers in your daily diet: These spices and spicy foods are natural expectorants/decongestants that help loosen and discharge mucus and improve breathing. Hot peppers, particularly those of the red variety, also contain the healing vitamins A and C.
  3. Try honey mixed with apple cider vinegar. It's a wonderful energizing tonic even when you're not sick, but if you start to feel a tickling dry cough and/or sore throat, this could be a simple cure. Mix two teaspoons of honey and two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Sip and gargle for five seconds, then swallow. Continue sequence until glass is finished. Repeat if necessary a few more times throughout the day for relieving coughs and sore throats.
  4. Gargle with warm salt water: Salt is another natural antiseptic that aids in killing germs in the throat. At the first sign of a dry tickling cough or sore throat, start gargling with warm salt water and repeat often to alleviate symptoms. Mix two teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for five seconds, eject, and then continue gargling until glass is finished.
  5. Wash your hands: This simple chore is the optimal way to prevent disease year-round. Wash hands thoroughly, rubbing with soapy water for approximately 20 seconds, especially before handling food or after shaking hands, touching door knobs, phones, computers and other germy areas—and definitely avoid placing your hands on your eyes, nose and mouth where germs can enter the body.

If you do get a stuffy head cold

Try hydrotherapy, an ancient healing method:

  • Get two large pots and fill one with cold water/ ice and the other with hot water
  • Place your feet first in the hot water for one minute, then immediately put them in the cold water for another minute
  • Repeat sequence twice more

Hot and cold footbaths are a centuries-old method for relieving headaches, nasal and chest congestion by bringing blood from the head down to the feet. A minute-long hot shower immediately followed with a minute-long cold shower (with the water directed towards the head, neck and chest to loosen upper respiratory congestion) is an alternative hydrotherapy method to footbaths.

Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...

Featured Videos

Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 199,152
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 399,142
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 77,649
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,321
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,224,126
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,467
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,921,007
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,202,163

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

How to Schedule Your Hydration

How to Schedule Your Hydration

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

How to Hydrate Your Body

How to Hydrate Your Body

How to Hydrate With Food

How to Hydrate With Food

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Living the #JugLife: Javale McGee Wants You to Drink More Water

Living the #JugLife: Javale McGee Wants You to Drink More Water

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Electrolytes Explained

Electrolytes Explained

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Danger of Over-Hydration

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Danger of Over-Hydration

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

YardBarker