Showing posts with label Common cold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Common cold. Show all posts

Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Effective Tips to Fight the Common Cold

With millions of cases of the common cold reported each year, colds are the number one reason that children miss school and adults miss work. In addition to pesky symptoms such as congestion, sneezing and sore throats, colds can be costly. Lost time at work, doctor’s visits and cold remedies adds up to a billion dollar industry in the U.S.
With that in mind, what are the most effective steps in preventing a cold? And once a cold starts, how can we treat it in an effective way? 
These tips can help prevent a cold and avoid expensive trips to the doctor or prescription medication: 
  1. Add moisture to your home: Germs travel faster in colder, less-humid environments. When your home is dry from the heat, it’s a breeding ground for cold germs. Experts recommend using a humidifier in your home if the air is overly dry. Humidifiers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. 
  2. Treat your nasal passages: Your chances of getting sick are increased when your nasal passages are dry. Saline nasal spray flushes out mucus and bacteria, while keeping nasal passages moist. You can also try a neti pot. This device helps keep sinuses irrigated and may help ward off colds. 
  3. Exercise: Experts agree that exercise boosts the immune cells throughout your body, which is important for preventing colds. 
  4. Sleep: Get plenty of rest, especially during cold season, to keep your immune system strong. 
  5. Hand washing: Washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day is one of the best ways to prevent catching a cold this season. Remember to wash your hands after touching particularly germy items such as the refrigerator handle, remote controls and doorknobs.
If you’ve already developed cold symptoms, don’t despair. Check out these effective tips for treating a cold:
  1. Throat lozenges: Black currant, in particular, contains gamma-linoleic acid, a fatty acid that soothes the throat and decreases inflammation. This type of throat lozenges might be more effective in fighting sore throats associated with the common cold.
  2. Healthy foods: Try incorporating buckwheat honey into your diet. This honey is high in antioxidants and iron and filled with immune-boosting power. Chicken soup is an age-old remedy with anti-inflammatory effects that may help soothe a sore throat. Inhaling the steam from the soup may help clear nasal passages, too.
  3. Tea: Try one with medicinal mushrooms and help stop germs before they take over.
  4. Turmeric: This yellow spice is a disease-fighter against bacteria and viruses. It’s a good source of manganese and potassium, and both help overall immunity.
  5. Vitamin C and zinc: Check with your doctor or pharmacist regarding supplements such as vitamin C and zinc. They might be helpful in fighting the common cold.
By practicing sound prevention and treatment options, you can effectively tackle the common cold this season.   
If you do require cold or flu medication this winter, remember that the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card may help you save money on these prescriptions. For a FREE card, visit or download a free card in the App Store.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

COLD REMEDIES - What Works - What Doesn't

natural remedies
How do you cure the common cold?

The season is changing – no not the weather season – the season where we see the common cold all around us! What do you do if you feel the symptoms hitting you? Do you have a favorite remedy that your grandmother passed on to you or do you rush to the nearest drug store to scour the isles for the best Over-The-Counter fix? Well, before you rush out, here are some tips for what works, what doesn't and what won't hurt.

What Works?

First of all, there is no cure for the common cold. According to the Mayo Clinic cold remedies are as common as the common cold itself! If you catch a cold, you can expect to feel the effects of it for a couple of weeks. There are things you can do, though, to ease your misery during that time.
  • Increase your fluid intake – Be sure to drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water. This will help loosen the congestion in your chest and keep your body hydrated. Be sure to limit your intake of alcohol, coffee, or other caffeinated drinks as these drinks can cause dehydration.
  • Use a Salt Water Gargle – This will ease the sore throat that may come with your cold. You will only need about ¼ to ½ tsp salt with an 8 oz glass of warm water a couple times a day to ease your sore and scratchy throat.
  • Nasal Drops and Sprays – There are a number of nasal sprays and drops available over the counter. They will ease the stuffiness and will help you breathe a little easier. Be sure you follow the directions carefully to avoid any irritation to your nasal passages. Also do not administer to children unless approved for childrens' use and seek your doctor’s advice when it comes to treating children. Some people like to use a Neti Pot which can be purchased from your nearest health food store or drug store. This is used to clear the nasal passages with a salt water cleanse of your nostrils.
  • Antihistamines - These can relieve symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sneezing and watery eyes. However, there may be side effects, such as drowsiness and dizziness, and they are not recommended while driving. They can also interact with other medications you may be taking. Be sure to check with your doctor prior to using antihistamines.
  • Increase your Humidity – The dry air during winter is a haven for the cold virus, as it grows in dry air. Using a humidifier can put moisture back into the air and help to keep your nasal passages and throat hydrated. However, be sure to clean the humidifier and change the water regularly, as moisture can also cause mold growth.
  • Get Plenty of Rest – Grab a soft blanket and curl up on the couch. Take a nap or two. Your body needs plenty of rest to fight off the germs, so don’t feel guilty by staying in bed if you need more rest. Save your energy to help your immune system fight the cold.

What Doesn't Work?

There are plenty of old-time remedies passed on from generations that simply don’t work. The jury is still out in many of them. Some of the more common treatments that just don’t help but are still tried are as follows:

Antibiotics – These work against bacteria, not viruses. Antibiotics will not help to alleviate cold symptoms. Try to keep from taking antibiotics unnecessarily, as this contributes to antibiotic resistance, a growing problem in the U.S. Read our FamilyWize article, Time to Get Smart About Antibiotics, for more information.

Good old fashioned chicken soup is still a tried and
true remedy.
OTC cold and cough medications in young children - OTC cold and cough medications may cause serious and even life-threatening side effects in children. Acetominophen, also sold as Tylenol, found in many cold relief medications, can cause serious liver damage if not taken as directed. 

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association warns not to use certain OTC medications in children four years old and younger. Many companies have stopped manufacturing these products for young children.

Zinc - Zinc is an important mineral and necessary for the human body. However, it's value as a treatment or preventive for the common cold is mixed. Zinc can be found in some nasal sprays and has been found to affect the sense of smell. The FDA warns not to use zinc nasal sprays for this reason. Long term use of zinc, six weeks or more, can cause copper deficiency. Other side effects of shorter term use, less than five days, can cause upset stomach, irritation of and metallic taste in mouth. 

What probably doesn't hurt

Vitamin C - It appears that for the most part taking Vitamin C won't help the average person prevent colds. However, taking Vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C may provide benefit for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure — for example, children who attend group child care during the winter.

And please don't forget the old fashion Chicken Soup cure! Chicken soup has been noted to help open the nasal passages and ease some of the symptoms to help you feel better. This really does work!

There are also homeopathic natural remedies that are worth a try. One that has been recommended to me is Umcka. You can find Umcka in natural food stores and many chain stores. It is plant based and originated with South African folk medicine. It has pretty good reviews with few indicating any side effects. Most reviews were very positive regarding the intensity of the cold symptoms and a much shorter duration. It would certainly be another option to try if you find yourself fighting off that dreaded cold! Before using any over the counter medications, you should first check with your doctor to make sure it will not interact with any medications you already take and read the label for any warnings, such as not taking while pregnant, breast feeding, or if you suffer from heart or lung disease.

In the meantime, the best measure would be to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and keep the air around you moist if possible. And finally, wash your hands often, especially when around others who are suffering from the common cold.

Cindy Foley
Contributing Writer