Thursday 5 January 2012

Boost your immunity tip 3 - The common cold

Typically symptoms of the common cold include:  sore throat, cough, sneezing, running nose, headache, fatigue, and a low-grade fever.  The symptoms of the common cold tend to last for around a week.
Since colds are caused by more than 100 different viruses, antibiotics are ineffective as a treatment although they are sometimes prescribed to treat secondary bacterial infections (bronchitis, pneumonia). 
Lifestyle Modification: 
Lifestyle habits that may support the immune system and speed recovery include the following:
Drink plenty of fluids in order to maintain water balance and to thin mucous secretions.
Eat raw garlic, which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Crush a clove or two and add to foods like soups and grains just before serving.
A warm, humid environment created by a humidifier may provide some comfort.
The key thing to remember is that the annoying symptoms of a cold are part of the natural healing process - evidence that the immune system is battling illness. For example, a fever is the body's way of trying to kill viruses in a hotter-than-normal environment. Also, the heat from the fever makes germ-killing proteins in the blood circulate more quickly and effectively. So a moderate fever for a day or two will actually speed up the recovery process.
Coughing is another productive symptom as it prevents infected mucous from reaching the base of the lungs and creating secondary infections.

Decongestants are generally not a good idea as they work by restricting the flow to the blood vessels in the nose and throat; but this in turn causes rebound congestion and stasis and more risk of secondary infection.

Look out next week for what best to do if the cold already has hold of you!

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