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Health And Family

Home remedies for the common cold

MIND YOUR BODY - Dr. Willie T. Ong - The Philippine Star

Q. Our whole family is down with colds. What are the natural  remedies  you can recommend?

 A. Your question came at the right time because right now, I have a cold, too, and it’s annoying. If you get to see your doctor, he will make sure that it’s just the common cold. Other diseases that have the same symptoms as the cold are allergy, asthma, and pneumonia.

If it’s an allergy, we give anti-histamines like loratadine 10 mg daily. If there are wheezing and asthma, we give asthma medicines. And if there’s bacterial infection, like sore throat or pneumonia, doctors give antibiotics. If it’s none of the above, then we can say that it’s just the common cold.

The cold virus is contagious

Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses, all 200 versions of the virus, which spread through the air when someone with an infection coughs or sneezes. Kids are notorious for spreading the virus especially in school. Why? Because they don’t close their mouths when they cough, and they keep on hugging and kissing their classmates. 

Aside from inhaling the virus, you can also get it when you handle a contaminated object. Telephones, computers, toilets, and doorknobs are especially notorious for harboring germs. Worst of all, did you know that the cold virus can live up to 48 hours on these objects?

?Hence, meticulous people who keep on scrubbing their hands may be doing the right thing after all. Studies show that you really need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap or alcohol. 

Here are some ways to dodge the cold virus: 1) No kissing and no holding hands. 2) No sharing of spoons, dishes, glasses, and towels. 3) Cover your mouth when coughing. 4) Call in sick and stay at home to avoid infecting others. 5) Regularly clean your desk, phone, and computer with alcohol.

Home remedies 

?Let us look at several ways we can shorten the duration of a cold:

1. Take water and other fluids. Drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day can help. Water, juice, ginger drink (salabat), and warm calamansi juice with honey help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid taking alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks, which make dehydration worse. 

2. Take Vitamin C. Vitamin C may shorten a cold’s duration. A dose of 500 mg appears to be enough and is less irritating to the stomach. 

3. Consider cold medications. Over-the-counter decongestants may offer some symptom relief, but they won’t prevent a cold or shorten its duration. You may or may not take these. A word of warning: Those with high blood pressure and heart disease should be careful when taking them.

4. Take a rest. Tell your boss you’re sick. Do less work than usual so you can help your body recover. Resting your body boosts its immune system. 

5. Try spicy chicken soup. Chicken soup helps the immune system and speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose. Some experts say that adding garlic, onion or chili also clears the nasal airways.

6. Avoid milk. Dairy products can make some people produce more phlegm. Avoid dairy products for the moment.

7. Gargle with salt water.  A salt water gargle using half a teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water can temporarily relieve your sore and scratchy throat. 

8. Use steam. Steam inhalation, from hot water, hot soup or a nebulizer, helps a dry cough by increasing the humidity in the air. You can also take a hot steamy bath or use a humidifier. Whatever you do, just increase the “wetness” around you and it will help loosen your phlegm.

9. Try zinc. Zinc lozenges may reduce cough and cold symptoms. Cough lozenges or hard candy can help a dry, tickling cough, but should not be given to kids under three years old because they might choke. 

10. Use positive thinking. Some studies show that having a positive attitude and visualizing your body cells killing and flushing away the cold virus can hasten your recovery. The mind and body are more connected than you think. Think healthy and, chances are, you’ll be healthy.  

Lastly, when should you see your doctor? If your fever is over 38.5 C, if you have difficulty breathing or coughing out too much phlegm, then it’s better to visit your favorite doctor. Take care.

 

ACIRC

COLD

COUGH

NBSP

STRONG

TAKE

TAKE VITAMIN C

VIRUS

VITAMIN C

WATER

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