Nearly all of us get a cold in the winter or when the seasons change so here are some remedies that can help because there are no cures available yet.
The common cold has been around for thousands of years and yet today there are no cures available – sorry about that. The cold is different from flu although some of the same symptoms are present. Generally with a cold it’s the head that “gets it” hence the term head cold which sums up colds in a nutshell.
Difference Between a Cold and Flu
So what exactly is the difference between a cold and flu ? Well up front flu is a virus and highly contagious and can be past onto other in the air. That’s how all flu spreads just like the swine flu virus which is going around.
Flu is a killer virus for people whose bodies can’t fight it. You always get a high fever (where a cold you do not) and the whole body kind of goes into melt down. This will usually only last 2-4 days in any case and the symptoms subside. Flu can be prevented by having a vaccine well in advance of the flu season.
With a cold it generally centers around the head so you will have a blocked nose and feel “bunged up”
But like the cold once you have it then it’s just a case of sitting it out although the are relief treatments available to help you through the worst.
With a cold the symptoms come on suddenly about 2 or 3 days after you have caught the virus. As mentioned above you will feel bunged up but won’t have a fever with a cold (this is nearly always to best way to understand if you have a cold or the flu) although you will feel run down and tired. You will have plenty of “snot” coming out of your system and may get a sore throat.
Cold Treatment and Remedies
There are no antibiotics that a doctor can prescribe for you as a virus can not be treated so if you have a cold (which should last no more than 1 week) then all you can do is find some relief to help you though it.
Really bed rest is the best remedy to let your own body fight the virus and it will take some days before you are truly recovered and here are some others that may help you out.
- Go to bed and rest – often a cold is your body’s way to tell you to rest because you have picked up the virus because your body could not fight the virus which was passing around in the air
- Drink plenty of water – although this is not a cure it may release some of the mucus in your body and prevent dehydration
- You should have not lost your appetite so continue to eat (this is not a symptom of a cold so if you don’t want to eat anything you may have something else so consult your doctor)
- Try the hot lemon drinks you can buy over the counter. They are packed with vitamins and usually have paracetamol that will reduce any fever you may have and help you rest
- Try a humidifier – colds thrive in the dry air conditions that are prevalent in the winter months generally and because of central heating systems so increase the humidity in your home by adding moisture to the air.
- Chicken soup – this soup even from a can has been used and recommended by generations and believe it or not has now been scientifically proven to help. Even if you just hate the sound of this try it because it does make you feel better as well
- Avoid all the cough candy that’s available over the counter – these just don’t work. If you have a sore throat or a cough speak with your doctor as you may have an infection which these “treatments” just won’t cure at all.
Common Cold Prevention
Well nothing has been proven but some people seem not to get colds in the winter time unlike others.
Here are a few tips we learned whilst we were based in Sweden.
- As mentioned above increase humidity in the home and office. Many homes have saunas which are used on a regular basis and troughs of water around the radiators to increase the humidity levels in the home.
- Get loads of vitamin C – we always had large boxes of oranges, satsumas and other fruits in the office which we ate loads of each day. If you can’t get hold of fresh fruit in the winter then try the high dosage vitamin C tablets. If you are in any doubt consult with your doctor.
Remember: If you have a fever, are pregnant, you have a sore throat or the symptoms are getting worse then consult with your doctor right away. Although these common cold remedies will alleviate the pain for the week you have the cold there is no treatment and the above is not medical advice.