10 All-Natural Ways To Avoid Catching A Cold

If you always seem to catch a cold this time of year, here are some natural ways to prevent it.


Welp. It's that time of year again. Time to figure out what your strategy is going to be in order to avoid catching a cold. If you've ever wondered why it seems like more folks end up coughing and sneezing during the fall and winter seasons than any other time of the year, blame it on our noses. Our noses actually help to trap a lot of the viruses that try and invade our systems. But when the temperature drops, the cold air cools down our nasal passages, slows down the production of mucus (which is there to fight and remove infection), making us more vulnerable to getting sick.

Personally, I am not big on the whole over-the-counter drugs approach to handling a cold. To me, it's all about being as proactive as possible by finding natural and holistic ways to prepare my body for the germs that want to try and slow me down.

If this is the time of year that you always dread because, it's almost guaranteed that a cold will be coming your way, here are 10 things that you can do to build up your system and knock out the cold-causing viruses before they become too much of a nuisance or health issue.

1. Pour a Little Bit of Peroxide Down Your Ears


Although I don't get sick often, about twice a year, I'll feel a sore throat coming on. For me, that's always a sign that I'm about to catch a cold that I totally don't want. You've probably heard before that one of the best ways to nip the beginning stages of a cold or flu bug is to pour some hydrogen peroxide down both of your ears. Sis, when I tell you it works…it works.

All you need to do is get some that is three percent grade (which is what's usually at your local grocery store or pharmacy), pour about a capful of the solution into the bottle's top, tilt your head and pour it in. You'll immediately hear some bubbling and popping which means that it's cutting through your ear wax and cleaning out the infection that is trying to get you sick. Keep your head tilted for about five minutes and then grab a tissue to collect whatever fluid is left. Do the same with your other ear and you should notice a significant change within 12 hours or so. I know I always do. (If you want to read more about this, you can by clicking here.)

2. Eat Phytochemicals


This is the time of year when sugar and alcohol are in abundance. Just keep in mind that moderation is key because, if you consume too much of either, that can trigger candida in your gut which could end up weakening your immune system. Instead, swap out the sugar cookies and spiked eggnog for some phytochemicals. What the heck are they? They are active compounds, found in plants, that are loaded with vitamins C and E to strengthen your immunity while giving you more energy in the process. Some foods that are loaded with phytochemicals include grapes, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli and red wine.

3. Eat Some Antioxidants Too


If you've ever wondered what antioxidants actually do, in a nutshell, they are molecules that fight free radicals that seek to damage the cells within your body. So, you can probably see why it's such a good idea to eat as many as possible if you want to keep from catching a cold. Some foods that are packed with antioxidants include blueberries, beets, spinach, kale, carrots, citrus fruits and dark chocolate.

4. Consume Probiotics


Something that a lot of people don't realize is about 80 percent of our immune system is located inside of our gut. The healthier it is, the stronger our systems are and the easier it is to fight off germs, viruses and infections. One way to keep your gut health on-point is to consume probiotics.

You can do this by eating fermented foods like pickles, kefir, miso, kombucha and sauerkraut and/or taking a probiotic supplement. If you decide to go the supplement route, make sure that it is a multi-strain kind that contains no less than 25-billion units. That way, you'll know that it's truly effective.

5. Drink Bone Broth


Who didn't have chicken soup when they were sick as a child? If you ever wondered why that seemed to be such a miracle cure, it was mostly due to the broth that was in it. Now that you're grown, one of the best ways to keep a cold at bay is to make your own bone broth. It contains amino acids like arginine and glutamine to boost your immune system, L-glutamine to reduce inflammation (and promote weight loss), electrolytes to increase hydration, properties to reduce gut bacteria, and the amino acid cysteine. Why is that relevant? Believe it or not, on the chemical tip, it actually resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. Since close to nine million Americans get bronchitis each year and women contract it twice as much as men, that's just one more reason to whip some homemade bone broth up. (You can get a great bone broth recipe here.)

6. DIY Some Antibacterial Wipes


When you stop to think about where germs are in abundance, places like kitchens and bathrooms are a given. But germs are also plentiful on doorknobs, in your make-up, on your smartphone, at ATMS, on grocery carts, on your keys, and in your purse and wallet. That's why it's so important to keep your hands clean as much as possible.

One way to do that is to wash them. Another way is to use antibacterial wipes. Since more and more research is revealing that regular soap is about as effective as the antibacterial kind, if you want to use an antibacterial wipe that has as little unnecessary chemicals as possible, why not try your hand at DIY'ing it? All you basically need is some vinegar, detergent and lavender essential oil and you're basically good to go. (You can get step-by-step instructions by going here.)

7. Apply Some Citrus Essential Oils


Personally, I'm a huge fan of essential oils, so I had to make sure that I gave some of them a shout-out. If you don't already have some citrus essential oils in your collection, now would be the time to get 'em. Ones like orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and bergamot are ideal for cold and flu season for a myriad of reasons. They contain antioxidant properties that fight off free radicals. They are able to clear out germs while boosting your immune system. And, if you need to suppress a cough, lime essential oil is especially able to do just that.

As far as the best ways to apply citrus essential oils, you can do one of the following—pour some of the oil into a diffuser in order to purify the air, put some oil into a spray bottle for quite the immunity (and energy) pick me up, or you can combine citrus oils with a carrier oil (like grapeseed, avocado or sweet almond oil), warm the combo up and give yourself a soothing chest and back massage. Don't be afraid to mix some of the oils up too. The more the merrier when you're trying to prevent a cold from coming on.

8. Also Drink Some Horehound Tea


Although it's not a type of tea that you hear about on a daily basis, this is the time of year when you should definitely store up on some horehound tea (or horehound tea leaves). Not only is it a tea that contains iron, potassium, vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, horehound tea also has the powerful medicinal properties that are found in the bitter marrubiin plant. All of these things work together in order to keep your digestive tract healthy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and even ease menstrual cramps. Plus, if you feel the onset of a cold coming on, the properties in horehound tea will thin out the mucus in your lungs, soothe your sore throat, ease congestion in your nose, act as an expectorant, and also reduce inflammation throughout your body. Get the tea here. Get some of the loose leaves here.

9. Use a Dehumidifier


One of the reasons why a lot of us are more susceptible to colds is because we're indoors a lot more and there can be as much as 10 times more air pollution inside than outside. One way to keep indoor air pollution to a minimum is to invest in a dehumidifier.

The reason why this is such a good idea is because dehumidifiers are designed to pull moisture out of the air. As a result, less germs and allergens that could get you sick are floating around. Some other bonuses are they help to keep mold out of your clothes, odors out of the air and dust from irritating your respiratory system and collecting on your furniture.

10. Exercise


Depending on how you look at it, I saved the best for last. I say that because something else that can reduce your chances of getting a cold is exercise. Even though the cold weather may tempt you to not be as consistent when it comes to your exercise routine, if you don't want to catch a cold, this is actually when you should be working out more than usual. When you exercise, you increase the circulation throughout your body. When that happens, antibodies are able to flow throughout your bloodstream quicker, making it possible for your immune system to work harder and more effectively.

So, even if it means spending more time at home on your treadmill or with your exercise ball, make sure to devote 30-45 minutes, three days a week to doing some cardio (and a little weight training). Your body will love you for it. Cold germs will hate you for it. And all will be right with the world.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

It's Prime Time To Get Your Health "Fall Ready"

7 Herbs To Get You Through The Winter Season

10 Fall Foods That Are Extremely Good For Your Health

Did You Know Fall & Winter Are The Best Times To Have Sex?

Feature image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

If you are a frequent reader of my articles, then you know that I am front-of-the-class here for the culture. Using all of my platforms to be vocal about Black women and all things Blackity, Black, Black, Black is how I get down, and frankly, if you aren't here for me bragging on my people, then we probably won't have much in common. The wave has been snowballing too, because so many feel the same way I do, which is something we've had to consciously build up as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Whether still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic, not being able to get enough time off or money being a little on the tight side is what's preventing you from going on a romantic vacation this summer, who's to say that you can't do a sexy staycation instead? If the mere thought of that feels like a poor man's — or woman's — consolation prize, I promise you that it absolutely does not have to. Opting to stay at home while possibly throwing in a couple of day trip adventures (which is a classic definition of a staycation, by the way) can be loads of fun, super romantic and also really cost effective without feeling mad cheap.

Keep reading... Show less

Growing up, my mother didn't let me wear make-up. At the time, I was pissed. Oh, but now that I'm deep into my 40s, I'm ever grateful because it's rare that a week will go by and someone won't be shocked when I tell them my age. Meanwhile, a lot of the — I'm gonna be real — white women who I went to high school with? Whenever I run into them, the combination of constant tanning and piling on cosmetics back in the day now has them looking several — and I do mean, several — years older than I.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts