In the 1990s sitcom "Martin," Martin Lawrence played multiple characters, including the troublemaking kid with the perpetually runny nose and bad attitude, Roscoe. To avoid having a Roscoe of your own this winter, we say try probiotics. There's a good chance it'll clear up the runny nose, and grumpiness, too.
A new study reveals that taking probiotics twice a day for six months helps kids chase away cold symptoms. When given the probiotic acidophilus NCFM, children had 53 percent fewer fevers, 28 percent fewer runny noses, and 41 percent fewer coughing spells compared with kids getting a placebo. If they did get sick, recovery time was cut by a third. And when kids were given a combo of acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis, the incidence of fever dropped 72 percent, coughing 62 percent, and runny nose by 59 percent. Again, the duration of symptoms was reduced, this time by half. So if you want to protect your child (and yourself) from catching a nasty cold, here's what we suggest.
- Wash hands frequently. The easiest way to catch a cold is to transfer the virus from hands to your face.
- Keep indoor air humidified; many cold viruses thrive in low humidity.
- In addition to probiotics, take a multivitamin, 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3, and 900 IU of anti-inflammatory DHA omega-3 daily. And shoot for nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding those with added sugars; limit natural fruit juices to one 4-ounce glass a day; get the rest of your juice from whole fruits.