Did you experience your heart palpitate, the last time you sneezed? Were you embarrassed sneezing constantly during an important class or meeting thereby disturbing others? I know that sneezing can be a bit embarrassing at times, but you got to realize that you’re not alone. It has been estimated that the people of the United States suffer from 1 billion cases of common cold each year. The common cold has been regarded as one of the most common illnesses in the world. In fact, according to one estimate, Americans spend a whopping $2.9 Billion and $400 Million dollars each year on medicines for the common cold which include over the counter drugs and prescription drugs respectively. Table of Contents:
- Check Symptoms.
- Differentiate between Flu and Cold?
- Can we prevent Common Cold?
- How to treat the common cold?
- 8 Home remedies to treat the common cold
- DON’T CATCH IT, PREVENT IT!
Now you might wonder whether calling the doctor would be appropriate, especially when you suffer from an illness that is not perceived as a major health threat by society. Well, an illness like the common cold is said to go away on its own but there are some possibilities of complications arising if the illness goes on for a prolonged period of time. People with existing medical issues namely asthma, weak immunity, or any other respiratory disease are found to be more susceptible to such complications. You should visit the doctor and ask for help if you experience the following-
- severe or odd common cold symptoms
- the symptoms are not improving even after 10 days
- experiencing chest pain
- have trouble breathing
- experiencing extreme pain while swallowing
- if the symptoms give rise to bronchitis or pneumonia
When you wake up with that runny nose and sore throat, how do you know whether you have flu or the common cold symptoms? The answer lies in the level of the extremity of the symptoms. It is important for us to understand that although both the illnesses are caused by different viruses, the symptoms depicted by the individual are more or less the same. In general, the flu can be considered as an extreme version of the common cold whereas a cold could be regarded as a milder form of flu. So, therefore, based on the severity of the symptoms you would easily be able to decipher the identity of your illness.
Immunization programs save millions of people each year all across the planet. They are an integral and important part of a state’s public health policy. Now, you must be wondering why people don’t take the vaccine for this illness when they suffer from it every year! Well, surprisingly, the truth is that a vaccine for the common cold is yet to be formulated and developed, but the good part is that efforts are being made to create one. It is important for the readers to understand that it has been very difficult for the scientific community to develop a vaccine for this illness, primarily because of the fact, that common cold can be caused by more than 200 million varieties of viruses.
It’s a Monday morning, you wake up, and the next thing you realize is that you are about to sneeze! And certainly, the next thing you do, is that you jump out of bed and make yourself a concoction of honey and lemon in warm water or any suitable alternative hot beverage. I am pretty sure we have all been there and done that. For the common cold, people generally make use of home remedies although some prefer to take over the counter pills or head straight to the doctor. But, for an illness as frequent as the common cold, the option of taking medicines just doesn’t seem enticing enough, especially when you got the option of easy and quick home remedies! I mean there are just a whole bunch of home remedies that work! One must realize the fact that some home remedies have been passed down from one generation to the other for centuries not forgetting that the ingredients used in these have been proved to contain medically beneficial properties. Also, they are found to be much cheaper, with almost ZERO Side effects as compared to store-bought medicines and prescription drugs.
1. Gargle With Lukewarm Water
We have all heard the doctor talk about the benefits of gargling every day, but I don’t think we did pay any kind of heed to his advice! A study of approximately 400 healthy volunteers published in The American Journal Of Preventive Medicine found out that those who gargled with lukewarm water were less likely to get affected by upper respiratory tract infections. The research concluded that “simple water gargling was effective to prevent such upper respiratory tract infections among healthy people”.
2. Consume a zinc supplement or lozenge
The t-cells and other immune cells of our body are found to heavily rely on this trace element called zinc. Not getting enough of zinc, would result in these cells getting negatively affected. The zinc mineral has been observed to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the rhinoviruses being the class of virus responsible for the common cold. Also, a review of relevant data by scientists in 2013 concluded that zinc administered within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reduced the duration of the common cold symptoms in healthy people. Also, these people were found to be more immune to the illness whereby the symptoms were less likely to persist after 7 days of treatment.
We all love the sweet nectar! There cannot be any sweeter way to treat this illness than consuming honey. According to a 2012 Pediatrics Study of 300 sick children, kids who consumed 10 grams of honey at bedtime experienced fewer cough and cold symptoms than children who were given a placebo. Also, the children given honey slept more soundly without any discomfort.
4. Plenty Of Rest
A nice 8 hours of sleep is highly advised by doctors worldwide because sleep is considered to play a key role in having a good immune system. According to a 2009 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers tracked the sleep pattern of 153 healthy men and women for two weeks. Subsequently, the researchers gave the volunteers some nasal drops containing rhinovirus and monitored them for the next five days. It was found out that volunteers who got less than 7 hours of sleep regularly were nearly three times more likely to catch cold when compared to people who slept a minimum of 8 hours.
Ginger has a long history of being used as a home remedy for cough and cold. A few slices of ginger in hot boiling water has shown to relieve one’s common cold symptoms. Research also suggests that ginger has shown to ward off feelings of clinical nausea. Also, a study published in the British Journal Of Anesthesia found out that just one gram of ginger root was helpful in alleviating symptoms of seasickness, morning sickness, and nausea.
Adding more of garlic in your diet won’t hurt from now on! It has been observed that adding a garlic supplement to your diet reduces the severity of cough and cold symptoms. This happens due to the antimicrobial properties of the allicin compound which is found in garlic. Research showed garlic if consumed daily as a prophylactic might reduce the incidence of a common cold.
Vitamin-C has proved to play a very important in the fight against the common cold! Vitamin-C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that the body uses to keep itself healthy. It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially orange and other citrus fruits. While getting Vitamin-C may not be able to cure the illness entirely, it does relieve upper respiratory tract infections and other illnesses.
The echinacea plant has been used by the Native Americans to treat infections for more than 400 years. The content of the plant has shown to have therapeutic effects on the body. According to one study, taking echinacea may lower the risk of developing a common cold by a whopping 50%. Also, it may reduce the length of the cold. So, try out echinacea tea three times daily the next time you catch a cold!
The common cold affects millions of people every year all across the globe, causing them to miss school or work. The illness can be prevented by taking the following simple steps-
- Washing hands with water and soap regularly
- By avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- By avoiding close contact with sick people
- By regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs
The medical profession has long realized that prevention is better than cure. For example, it is better to prevent lung cancer by avoiding smoking than smoke and then prevent cancer. It is important to remember the fact that cures are expensive and sometimes there may not be one at all. After all, the art of healthy living is not so difficult at all!
“Preventing diseases rather than curing them makes more sense- Doctors of the future will be clinicians, dieticians and personal trainers rolled into one”