It’s cold season, people. People left and right are getting sick. Everyone is exposed. As the holidays are here, someone at home will probably be sick. If you don’t catch a cold or feel a cold creeping up on you, you have one mighty immune system. Sadly, not all of us are like you. Here is how to prevent yourself from getting sick and what to do after your immune system lets you down.

Let’s talk about orange juice: It’s a common myth that orange juice helps you when you are sick. Orange juice, which has vitamin c, is great for PREVENTING colds, but once you catch the bug, chugging OJ (or any high-in-vitamin c drink) won’t help you. In fact, it might make you feel worse.

The ultimate weapon (for prevention and curing): Garlic. Garlic is antimicrobial and is fantastic for getting rid of bad bacteria. Feel a cold creeping up? Increase the level of garlic intake by a lot. My favorite nutrition professor gave me her secret: chop up 6-10 cloves really really fine, toast them up a little bit in some butter in a frying pan, and then spread that over toast. Eat the toast. As a garlic lover, I can get down with this. But if you’re not as enthusiastic about garlic as I am, then add a ton of garlic to some premade or homemade marinara sauce and serve that with some pasta for your next meal.

Now once you become sick, here is what you should do to take care of yourself:

- Drink lots of water.

- Drink tea; Chamomile, lemongrass, lemon balm, elderberry and “sick tea” (hot water, honey, lemon and ginger) are all perfect teas for those who are combating a cold (and a sore throat!).

- If you don’t have any tea, warm milk with honey is fantastic for sore throats and can help induce sleep for some.

- Take a hot bath and sweat it out; run a bath as hot as you can take it, and sit in the bath for at least 15-20 minutes in attempt to sweat out the cold. Drink some water afterwards to rehydrate and then off to bed with you.

- Get lots of sleep; it’s your body’s time to recharge.

- Don’t forget to eat; sometimes when we get sick we lose our appetite. You need to put something in your stomach, so try dry toast (no toppings, period.) or saltines. Eventually make your way up to so good old soup (chicken noodle is the best!)

- Lastly, please stay home if you can. You will recover better and faster if you properly take care of yourself. If you are sick enough and can afford to take time off of work or school, please do so.

Sometimes a little holistic healing is better for you than popping pills to get over a cold. And trust me, garlic truly is your best weapon. Get well soon!