Colds and the flu are similar in many ways, yet the flu can sometimes lead to more serious problems, such as pneumonia. Colds and flu are the most common and communicable ailments and spread easily between people. They are more likely to strike when a person’s immunity is low. The common cold is an acute (short-term) viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Symptoms of a cold include runny or congested nose, sneezing, fatigue, head pain, body aches, cough and general feeling of malaise. A painful throat is sometimes a (differential) symptom of a more serious condition distinct from the common cold that may require medical diagnosis and treatment. A cough can be further differentiated by the sound of the cough and the ability to expel or not to expel the phlegm. The color of the phlegm is also looked at.
The flu typically affects 20%-50% of the U.S. population each winter. It’s a highly contagious disease, spreading mostly by direct person-to-person contact and coughing is the most effective method of transmission. The flu virus can linger in the air for as long as three hours. In close quarters, conditions are ripe for the spread of the virus.
Symptoms of a flu are very similar to that of a cold, but the signs of a flu can be much more severe, especially at the oneset. An elevated body temperature, characteristicly high (102-104 F); that lasts 3-4 days, a severe cough that gets worse, with chest discomfort or pain can be signs of pneumonia. Severe body aches and fever/chills are side effects of the body doing its job of trying to fight off an infection.
Colds can be spread through the air, such as when a person sneezes, or by contact with contaminated objects.
Those most at risk are children in 5 to 14 year range, who spend much of their time in school, in close contact with their classmates. More serious complications occur in elderly adults and those with compromised immune systems.
The remedies for a cold or flu are sleeping, resting, plenty of clear fluids, and avoiding sugar, which will assist your immune system to recuperate. There is no proven cure for colds or flu, but time.
Tips For Avoiding A Cold
1. Wash your hands often. This is the number one preventative measure you can take. You can pick up cold germs easily, even when shaking someone’s hand or touching doorknobs or handrails. You should lather up your hands well for at least 20 seconds, then rinse-off the soap thoroughly for another 20 seconds. Be sure to include the areas under you nails when you wash your hands, as they are a lurking ground for germs. Drying your hands, studies have shown, is also an important step in removing germs.
2. Keep your immunity up. Get good quality sleep, eat nutritious food and stay strong with moderate exercise.
3. Limit airborne risks by keeping your nose clear and hydrated. Usually, we infect ourselves by placing our own virus contaminated hands to our faces. Less frequently, we can catch them from airborne sources.
4. Sneeze or cough into a tissue and then throw the tissue away.
5. Clean surfaces you touch with a germ-killing disinfectant.
6. Don’t touch your nose, eyes, or mouth. Germs can enter your body easily by these paths.
7. Any season is cold and flu season but the most prevalent time tends to be in the fall and winter, when people are together in close surroundings.
8. Avoid large crowds in enclosed areas as much as possible, especially during cold and flu season.
9. Keep your feet and neck warm. Cold feet and a chilled neck cannot cause a viral infection. When the feet or neck are cold, cold contracts, that includes the mucous membranes in the nose. When mucous membranes contract, they dry out and cause the glands to stop functioning. This easily allows dust and bacteria in, as the nose stops it’s filtering function, making your entire system more vulnerable.
10. Sometimes even when we do our best to avoid these situations, they occur regardless. Just being aware is half the battle.
Managing Your Cold
1. Stay home and rest, especially while you have an elevated temperature.
2. Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke, which can make cold symptoms worse.
3. Drink plenty of fluids like water, fruit juices and clear soups. Fluids help loosen mucus. Fluids are also important if you have an elevated temperature because it can dry up your body’s fluids, which can lead to dehydration.
4. Don’t drink alcohol.
5. Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve a painful throat. Throat sprays or lozenges may also help relieve the pain.
6. Use saline (salt water) nose drops to help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose.
7. Consider supplements such as Vit C, 2,000 to 4,000 mg in divided doses (based on bowel tolerance). Vit E complements C, 400 IU. Echinecea, Goldenseal, Garlic and Licorice root all help in fighting viruses and strengthening immunity.
8. Chicken soup has been shown to have healing properties. Enjoy this great old remedy.
9. Keep washing your hands, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough in order not to spread the virus to others in your household.
10. Pay attention to good hygiene and skin care. Eat a proper diet.
Water is essential in any healing process. Distilled water is the best. 6-8 eight ounces glasses per day.
In addition to eight glasses of water, clear juice, tea, and other mostly clear liquids are advised. This will replace important fluids lost during a cold and help flush out impurities that may be preying on your system.
Sip chicken soup. A long-time folk remedy is now a proven fact. A cup of hot chicken soup can help unclog your nasal passages. Researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach found that hot chicken soup, either because of its aroma or its taste, “appears to possess an additional substance for increasing the flow of nasal mucus.” These secretions—what comes out when you blow your nose or sneeze—serve a first line of defense in removing germs from your system, the researchers say.
Zinc lozenges can cut colds short, to an average of four days. Zinc can also dramatically reduce symptoms such as a dry, irritated throat.
The very fact that you have a cold in the first place may point to your eating “too congesting a diet” that puts a strain on your body’s metabolism. Counteract it by eating fewer fatty foods, meat and milk products, and more fresh fruit and vegetables.
What You Should Avoid:
Limit foods that have little or no fiber such as ice cream, cheese, meat, snacks like chips and pizza, and processed foods such as instant mashed potatoes or already-prepared frozen dinners. Too much white flour and refined sugar.
What you don’t eat may be even more important than what you do eat. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar, because they tend to worsen the situation.
Reduce Processed and Refined Foods:
Avoid fried foods, white pasta, white rice, full fat dairy, white potatoes, white bread (baguettes, bagels, pita).
Processed food can rob your food of nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to fight off stress and promote good health. Try to buy whole foods, unprocessed foods and try and stay away from “instant” foods, preservatives, artificial flavors, saturated fats, refined foods, hydrogenated food and MSG.
Reduce Sugar Intake:
Too much sugar can rob our body of essential nutrients. Simple carbohydrates from baked goods, pastries, most crackers and cookies must be limited to a very small portion or completely removed from the diet.
AlphaLipoicAcid is a unique anti-oxidant that is both water and fat soluble, which allows it to enter all parts of the cell to neutralize free radicals. AlphaLipoicAcid contributes to and is important for the production of energy inside the cell by utilizing sugar to produce energy contributing to mental and physical stamina, reducing muscle fatigue and neutralizes free radicals. AlphaLipoicAcid recycles and enhances the effects of both Vit C.
Lysine an amino acid, can have a general antiviral, tonifying effect that fortifies the immune system. Take 1,000mg daily in divided doses.
Probiotic A probiotic will fortify your intestinal flora, which are essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. This is key to good health and a strong immune system. Studies have shown that patients who begin a course of probiotics with fiber a few days prior to surgery are less likely to pick up a post-operative infection during their hospital stays. This demonstrates a strong connection between intestinal flora and immune function. The fiber – which provides the friendly bacteria both food and sanctuary – can be as simple as an apple or banana.
Omega-3: This oil has been shown in many studies, to reduce your bad cholesterol levels and reduce plaque buildup in your blood. Fish oil and flax are high in Omega 3 and are excellent ways to help your blood stream.
Vit C acts primarily in cellular fluid. Vit C scavenges free radicals and cleans up waste products. In addition to its anti-oxidative activities, vit C benefits many other body functions. Vit C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is an important component in the structural make up of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Vit C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood. Vit C, even in small amounts, can protect molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from damage by free-radicals. Vit C helps in the fight against free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke and also helps return vit E to its active form.
Vits B6,12 Foods rich in the B vits, which help regulate metabolism, are also beneficial, as diets high in sugar tend to burn these vitamins at a faster rate. These foods include wheat germ, yogurt, and liver.
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Originally posted 2007-11-07 10:49:40. We hope you have enjoyed this Post From the Past!
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