What is cold?
This is an acute infection of the throat and nasal passage. They are at times referred as rhinovirus or corona virus infections and they are the most to affect any part of the body. Research has shown that the average person has more than fifty colds in their lifetime and anyone can catch cold although it is most common among children. Repeated exposure, to the virus that causes cold, helps to prevent against future occurrences of cold. An individual who has been infected with cold in most cases recovers without necessarily seeking special medical attention. Cold makes the upper respiratory system less resistant to bacterial infections such as ear infection, bronchitis, sinus infections and strep throat.
Cause of Colds
What are some of the factors that cause cold?
- There are wide ranges of viruses that causes cold symptoms but in most of the cases cold is caused by a class of viruses which are known as Rhinoviruses. The virus gets into the cells lining of the nose and starts reproducing and thus causing cold.
- Other common implicated viruses include corona virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and para-influeza virus.
- It’s not cold weather that causes cold as most of the people tend to think but it is the fact that people are known to congregate together indoors during the cold season as they need to keep warm and this makes it easier for the transmission of cold as it can be transmitted by inhaling airborne viruses when an individual sneezes.
- Also it is very possible for an individual to get infected with cold through some of the immediate surfaces such as door knobs as by any chances there were viruses then it’s clear that the virus will move from the hand hence to the nose and then into the nose or the eye and the body will automatically react to the presence of the virus with its immune system.
- Other causes include fatigue and overwork, emotional stress, poor nutrition, smoking and lastly living or working with crowded people.
Symptoms of Colds
What are some of the major symptoms of cold?
There are varied symptoms of cold and it does not necessarily mean that when one happens to experience such symptoms has cold. Some of these symptoms include the following.
- Coughs. When we talk of coughs there are different types of coughs. For instance: chronic coughs which is uncommon in children and it’s a cough that persist .its caused by asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems and esophageal reflux of stomach contents. Also in rare cases it may be a result of aspiration of foreign material into the lung s usually in children. Cigarette smoking and pneumonia are also some of its causes.
- Whooping coughs which is an acute and highly contagious respiratory infection. It commonly affects infants and young children but can be prevented through immunization with pertussis vaccines. In adults whooping cough can be a cause of chronic coughs.
- Sore throats .this is caused by virus or mechanical causes such as mouth breathing and it’s very possible for one to treat sore throats at home. Such home remedies are salt water gargling sprays lozenges and humidifiers. Its symptoms include: pain, burning sensations at the back of the throat, pain while swallowing and tenderness in the neck. In most cases sore throats are accompanied by coughing, sneezing, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Breathing through the mouth or smoking can also cause throat dryness and soreness. It’s very important for one to note that a sore throat lasting for more than two weeks can be a sign of a serious illness and therefore it is always advisable to seek a serious medical treatment.
- Some of the other cold symptoms include; runny or rather stuffy nose , itchy throat, congestion, slight body aches, mild headaches , sneezing, watery eyes, low-grade fever and in conclusion mild fatigue.
Cold Home Remedies
Which are the cold remedies?
Cold can be treated at home and therefore does not need a special treatment .However, in some cases it persists and therefore it’s necessary for on to seek medical attention as it can be treated. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Elder, peppermint and Yarrow- These are some of the herbs that can be used in making 'cold tea' that is one of the most effective herbal remedies of cold. Mix all the herbs together and scoop either one or two teaspoonfuls of the mixture into a cup of hot water. Take the hot tea before going to bed to help in inducing sweat, fever and congestion. The tea can also stop the cold in case you caught it early enough. To soothe the pain in the throat, the tea can be sweetened with honey.
- Cayenne- This is another herbal remedy of cold that has mostly been used in North America. Take a quarter teaspoonful or 1.25mlof cayenne powder to help in stimulating the circulation. This will fight congestion and clear the throat.
- Ginger- Ginger has been widely used in most parts of the world as a remedy to a variety of infections. In order to help fight cold, you should grate a small piece of fresh ginger root into the tea of the patient.
- Cinnamon- This is also an effective herb in curing cold. It warms up the body and induces sweating that comes with a cold infection. Break a cinnamon stick into small pieces and place it into the tea of the patient. Besides, it can also be used with the 'cold tea'.
- Echinacea- The leaves, flowers and stem of the Echinacea herb are the ones with the properties of fighting colds. These parts of the plant are to be ground and offered to the person suffering from cold in an interval of every tow to three hours. The daily dose of this remedy should be between two to three grams per day.
- Ginseng- The ground root of Ginseng has got compounds that are able to effectively fight the symptoms of colds and is the reason why it is recommended for those with the condition. However, it also has certain properties that are similar to estrogen that should be noted before using it.
Diet for Colds
What diet should one embrace so as to fight or rather protect cold?
Good diet helps one to prevent most ailments .as far as cold is concerned there are some of the foods that one is supposed to include in diet .such foods include:
- Garlic .since ancient times this has been used as a remedy to many ailments including common cold .the research shows that garlic antiviral and antibacterial activities against infections comes from allicin a compound that is found in garlic when the plant is chopped or crushed .Allicin is also found in other plants such as onion and scallops which are plants found in the alliums family.
- It’s also important to cut off or rather reduce the consumption of foods that have high sugar content. This is because research has shown that sugar reduces the functioning of the immune system as when the white blood cells are exposed to much sugar their ability to fight bacteria as well as viruses decrease making the body prone to all infections. In addition to that , sugar depletes the body of some vital vitamins such as vitamins C,E and D
- Eat plenty food rich in vitamin C as vitamin c has been touted as a natural cure for common cold, research has shown that large doses of vitamin c taken before the onset of cold can reduce the duration of symptoms or prevent cold completely .vitamin c is also known to act against virus by stimulating the white blood cells which are body defenders against infections.
- Try to limit the rate of dairy products consumption as they are thought to promote the building up of mucus in the throat and may worsen the cold symptoms.
- It’s always advisable for one to step up or rather increase the zinc intake as zinc may be helpful in preventing wide range of infections including cold as it enhances the immune system and may reduce the intensity of cold symptoms as well as the duration of cold. this is all because zinc promotes the production of bacteria busting white blood cells and also maintains the proper functioning of thymus gland which is largely involved in the regulation of the immune system .zinc is acquired in red meat ,oysters, poultry, nuts, legumes and grains.
- One should also relief the cold symptoms with hot drinks and soup. Research shows that simple hot drinks can provide immediate and sustained relief from cold symptoms such as runny nose, coughs, sneezing, sore throat, chilling and tenderness.
- It is also wise for one to spice up their food. Research has shown that pungent and spicy food such as ginger, chili pepper, curry hot mustard, onions and horseradish can ward-off cold this is because of the ability of spicy food to clear congestion by stimulating the mucus membrane.
- One should also eat food that provides probiotic bacteria as they aid digestion and fight the growth of disease causing bacteria also preventing respiratory infection such as common cold. The regular taking of such food leads to reduction of duration and severity of common cold symptoms. Such foods include yoghurt and sour milk.
- One should also drink enough water and avoid alcohol as water helps in keeping mucus lines in the throat moist as this helps flush viruses into the stomach where the acids destroys them. Drinking of more fluids is also important as one loses more fluids when having cold .one is advised to avoid alcohol when sick as it depletes the immune boosting nutrients and cause dehydration.
- One should also ensure that they get enough vitamin D as it appears to have protective effects against cold and other respiratory infections especially with people with asthma and chronic lung conditions. It’s present in foods such as liver, egg yolk, fish and dairy products .However, with the exposure to sunlight one can synthesis vitamin D.
Prevention of Colds
How can one prevent cold?
There are some of the cold prevention measures such measures include the following;
- Practicing proper hygiene whereby one should wash hands frequently and cover their mouths and nose using a tissue or a handkerchief as this protects those around from contracting cold.
- One should avoid close contact or rather proximity with people who have cold where possible.
- One should try to keep health by living a healthy lifestyle as this stimulates the immune system. This includes eating vegetable, fruits and grains, exercise regularly, reduce stress levels, keep well hydrated as well as avoid smoking.
- Try as much to get vitamin c whether in tablet or drink form as it helps in preventing cold.
- One should also try to keep warm.
- Where possible it is wise for one to get vaccinated.
- Use of selenium is also necessary as it helps the white blood cells to make cytokines proteins which help to remove cold viruses from the body.
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