a>The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus. Typically, symptoms include sinus drainage or congestion, fever, chest congestion, maybe even a headache. A cold can last for up to ten days, so how soon you get over yours will be a sign of how diligent you are in treating it. Most people don’t rush to the doctor for a cold but treat it themselves. Here are some things you should know that may help you recover sooner, rather than later.
Many of a cold’s symptoms are signs your body is fighting this infection. The sinus drainage is a good sign. That’s one of the ways your body gets rid of infection. Your cough, especially when it is productive (you actually cough something up), is another way your body gets rid of infection. Your fever is another good sign. A rise in body temperature kills many pathogens. If you can stand the discomfort of a fever, don’t suppress it unless it gets very high, say 104 degrees.
How do you get a cold? You can be around the virus but it still has to invade your body to get inside. There are steps you can take to prevent this. One of the most important is to wash your hands, and face, if possible, frequently. Between washings, don’t put your hand to your mouth, or eat any food by hand. Remember, your Mom always told you to wash your hands before you eat and that’s still good advice.
Another way a virus invades is through your mucous membranes in your nose and mouth and eyes. As long as these are moist, they can repel most viruses. If you ever feel like you have dry eyes, a dry nose or a dry throat, lubricate them. Natural Eye Drops; Vaseline or Vicks will lubricate your nose; Slippery Elm Lozenges will lubricate your mouth and throat.
In spite of your precautions, you get a cold. Increase your fluid intake as this extra liquid actually helps your body repel viruses. Sweet liquids, such as fruit juice, should be diluted as the natural sugars inhibit your body’s immune response. Stick to vegetable and meat broths and plenty of them. Chicken soup always seems to help. Next, take Vitamin C and Zinc. This powerhouse duo can sometimes stop a cold when used early enough.
I know this seems like a lot of work for one cold but that cold can be a miserable experience. If you’re really lucky, you’ll have someone around helping you do all this and applying good, old fashioned TLC (tender loving care) and making a big pot of chicken broth from a whole chicken. A whole chicken makes the richest broth and you still have all that cooked chicken to eat.