Tips to Beat the Common Cold – Dr. Rob America’s Fitness Doctor®
There is over 200 known viruses that can cause the common cold and with that many it seems like you might not even stand a chance of staying healthy this winter. However with a few healthy strategies you can defeat the common cold and stay strong all season long.
The common cold generally causes a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache, and fatigue.
Cold symptoms usually start about 2 or 3 days after you come in contact with the virus, although sometimes it could take longer.
It is called the common cold for a good reason. It’s one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor each year and you and your children will probably have more colds than any other type of illness during your lifetime.
Colds are the most common reason that children miss school and parents miss work and colds often end up infecting the entire family during these colder months when we spend more time indoors and in close proximity to one another. Colds can occur at any time of the year, but they are most common in the winter or rainy seasons.
Young children seem like they are sick every month. One of the reasons is they usually get colds from other children at school. A cold can spread quickly through schools or daycares and entire communities.
The cold virus spreads through tiny air droplets that are released when the infected person sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose and these infected particles can also survive on surfaces from just a few hours to a day.
You can catch a cold if a person with a cold sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose near you and you breath in the virus. If you touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus, such as a cellphone or the kitchen countertop. It’s always best to keep your hands off your face until you have had a chance to wash them.
People are most contagious for the first 2 to 3 days of a cold. A cold is usually not contagious after the first week.
Here’s the good thing. When you do get a cold they do not last very long, typically only 5-7 days at most. Since viruses cause colds you won’t need antibiotics. Antibiotics are only need for bacterial infections. The best things you can do when you have a cold are getting plenty of rest and drink plenty of clear liquids.
There are over-the-counter cold and cough medicines that will help ease symptoms in adults and older children. They generally do not make your cold go away faster, but can help you feel better. In my opinion I have found Zinc lozenges to be highly effective at decreasing the symptoms of the common cold.
Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children under age 6. It’s best to talk to your doctor before giving your child any type of over-the-counter or nonprescription cough medicine, even if the label says it is made for children. These medicines may not work for children, and may have serious side effects.
Other remedies you can try for the common cold are drinking hot tea to which you can add honey and lemon. The tried and true Mom’s chicken noodle soup always does the trick and the fluid and salt from the soup are sure to make you feel better. Taking vitamin C is a very popular cold remedy, however it’s best used regularly as a supplement for prevention than as a treatment for the common cold.
So what can you do to decrease your chances of getting a cold?
• Always wash your hands: Children and adults should wash hands after nose wiping, using the bathroom, and preparing food and before eating.
• Clean commonly touched surfaces such as kitchen counter tops, sink handles, doorknobs, bathrooms and cellphones.
• Use instant hand sanitizers. These products use alcohol to destroy germs. A little dab will kill 99.99% of germs without any water or towels.
• Use paper towels instead of the kitchen cloth towels, which can harbor germs for extended periods.
• Sneeze and cough into your elbow to decrease the chance of any virus being spread.
Your immune system helps your body fight off infection and here are eight ways to support the immune system.
• Avoid unnecessary antibiotics: Using antibiotics too often leads to antibiotic resistance. The more you use antibiotics, the more likely the medicines may not work as well for you in the future.
• Maintain a regular sleep pattern to ensure you are getting plenty of rest.
• Drink plenty of water daily and add fresh lemon and ginger.
• Maintain a regular exercise routine. Studies show that regular exercise stimulates the body’s production of leukocytes, which are, cells that help fight off infection.
• Eat healthy foods on a regular basis. Eat plenty of phytonutrient, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.
• Avoid excessive consumption of sugar. Sugar can suppress the function of the immune system.
• Avoid secondhand smoke and keep as far away from secondhand smoke as possible. It is responsible for many health problems.
• Limit your alcohol consumption to two glasses a day for men and one for women.
“Fitness is the Footprint of Life. Follow It!”
Dr. Rob Kominiarek, America’s Fitness Doctor™