Most people get colds several times a year (more if you have children) and having a cold can drain a lot of energy. The common cold is caused by rhino viruses, which often infect the upper respiratory pathways. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat and nasal congestion. Fever is usually not associated with the common cold. Rhino viruses are spread through aerosols (coughing, sneezing), through contaminated surfaces and direct person-to-person contact.
Since the common cold is caused by viruses, antibiotics will not have an effect on the duration of a cold. The most frequently used treatments for a cold are over-the counter cough suppressants, nasal decongestants, cough syrups and lozenges. However, there are a number of alternative (natural) treatments available that can greatly reduce the duration of a cold and therefore get you back onto your feet sooner:
- Zinc. The metal element Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for all life. It is a co-factor for many proteins and enzymes and has a positive effect on the immune system and is effective against a wide range of pathogens. Zinc can be taken as a supplement (usually together with magnesium and calcium) or can be found in certain lozenges (as Zinc gluconate glycine or zinc gluconate).
- Echinecea. Echinecea extract is believed to stimulate the immune system and by taking echinacea, your body may eliminate infections faster.
- Goldenseal extract. If a cold develops into a bacterial infection, goldenseal extract may be effective. Goldenseal is anti-microbial and may help a respiratory infection, especially when thick mucus is present. However, be cautious with goldenseal as some of it’s compounds may be toxic.
- Elderberry extract. Elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra), which is dark purple in color, contains many antioxidants and may be used to treat persistent coughs and bronchitis, since elderberry extract is believed to act as an expectorant.
- Vitamin C. Also essential for the immune system, take vitamin C as a supplement or eat fresh fruits (oranges) or drink orange juice.
Taking the above listed nutrients when you first come down with a cold, can help you recover much faster than without it. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids (as that will also have an impact on your recovery from a cold).
- Old Fashioned Help For The Common Cold – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday … – Contrary to what some drug companies may say, there really is very little you can do to prevent catching a cold. Ask any parent. I know when the sniffles.