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Colds: Getting Past the Misery

Oct 11, 2007
You can not predict when you will get your next cold, but one thing you can be sure of is that you will get one sometime in the next few weeks or months. Although colds get rarer as we grow older, since we develop immunity to those viruses we have already fought before, there are 200 and more viruses known to cause a cold, making colds a common ailment that most of us will have many times in a lifetime.

What makes colds particularly miserable is blocked nasal passages accompanied by a sore throat and coughing, frequent sneezes and sometimes a headache, ear pain and fever in addition to all the usual symptoms. Colds can leave behind nagging coughs, and trigger episodes of more serious upper respiratory infections like bronchitis and adult-onset asthma. I have become accustomed to developing a 'wheeze' after a cold in the last few years, even though I had no sign of asthma as a child.

Even without such complications, any cold-sufferer will be eager to get over his or her episode of sniffling and sneezing. Here are some points to remember:

Colds strike us when our resistance is low. The most important aspect of avoiding colds is preventing them through good diet and exercise routines. Being depressed, mentally fatigued, or otherwise in low spirits also makes us more susceptible to infection. Since the viruses for colds are everywhere expelled into the air every time a person with a cold sneezes or coughs. we can get a cold more easily than any other form of infection.

High doses of vitamin C, and cough lozenges that contain zinc have been found to be effective in combating colds. Zinc prevents the dryness of the throat that causes us to cough, while vitamin C is said to work in the body like a scavenger, picking up the infection-causing material. However, doses of these should be checked with your physician.

Rest and relaxation are essential. This helps your body bring all its disease-fighting mechanisms into active service. So take a day or two off from work if you are feeling really bad. If this is not possible, try to slow down your everyday activities and reschedule your time.

When you have a cold its all right to say 'No' to a party. Apart from the exhaustion you may feel in trying to keep up with the celebrations, you also run the risk of infecting other people.

Keep warm. A cold is really and truly what its called. Avoid exposing yourself to very cold, or wet conditions and bundle up with a jacket or sweater if necessary.

Mild exercise, like a walk improves your circulation, helping your immune system circulate infection-fighting antibodies. But more strenuous exercise, like going to the gym can be put off for later.

Eat lightly. Your cold could be due to lowered resistance due to too heavy a diet that puts a strain on your digestion and metabolism. During a cold, eat fewer fatty foods, meat and milk products, and more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Sip hot liquids like soup or rasam that can help unclog your nasal passages. When you blow your nose after a cup of one such hot drink, you are removing germs from your system.

Drink six to eight glasses of water, juice, tea, and other mostly clear liquids daily, to replace important fluids lost during a cold in the form of phlegm and mucus, and help flush out impurities.

Quit smoking, as this aggravates a throat that may already feel irritated from a cold, and interferes with the infection-fighting activity in your lungs.

Gargle and soothe your throat with warm saltwater, at least twice a day till it is better.

Have a dose of old-fashioned hot toddy. Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and 1 small shot (about 1 ounce) of brandy or whiskey. Limit yourself to just one such drink. Too much alcohol inflames your membranes and could make you feel more sick.

Take a hot and steamy bath or shower, inhaling the steam is good for you.

Sleep with an extra pillow to make it easier to breathe, and ease the raw and inflamed area around your nose with Vaseline or cold cream if it is rubbed raw from too much wiping. Camphor and menthol salves applied to your chest can also help in removing congestion and making you feel warmer.

Avoid taking flights, unless absolutely necessary. Air pressure changes during takeoff and landing can cause severe ear-ache during a cold. If you must fly, use a decongestant just before takeoff and landing. Chewing gum and swallowing frequently also helps to relieve pressure on ear drums.
About the Author
Matrimony Xpress is a Relationship Blog that offers different perspectives on relationships. This blog is an ideal platform to share views and discuss issues that matter to a marriage.Relationship Blog. This article can be republished with a link back to our RelationshipBlog
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