The Common Cold
What is a Cold?
The common cold is an infection of the nasal passages & throat which is caused by a virus. The cold virus is always changing & this seasons cold virus will probably be different to next seasons cold virus. This is why it is difficult to develop a cure. Antibiotics do not kill viruses - they will only work if a bacterial infection is present. Your own immune system is your best weapon against cold viruses.
Viruses are spread either through the air when you talk, sneeze, cough, breathe on someone, or on your hands.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms start 1 - 4 days after catching the virus;
If a simple cold has not got better after about a week, or you have any or all of the following:
then you should see a doctor.
- A cold with a fever of 38'C or higher for more than 3 days.
- Chest pain.
- Yellow-green coloured phlegm
How can I treat my cold?
There is no cure for colds. However, you can treat the cold, symptom by symptom, as each occurs and help to make yourself feel better. You will still have the cold.
- Get plenty of rest and go to bed for a day or two if necessary.
- Use a cold preparation such as something from the Coldrex range to help relieve the symptoms
- drink plenty of fluids (water, juice, soup, tea, etc.)
- breathe in steam to help moisten your air passages. (to find out more about a steam vaporiser see EUKY BEAR VAPOURISER)
The medicines available without prescription from your pharmacy contain ingredients specific for particular symptoms;
Soothed by lozenges, such as Difflam which has an advanced formulation and is a very effective product. Aspirin or paracetamol may ease sore throat pain.
A watery runny nose can be dried up with a decongestant (taken by mouth or by nasal spray) and/or an antihistamine. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or glaucoma PLEASE CHECK WITH CYBERCHEMIST before you use a decongestant, or in fact before you take any medicine you can buy in a pharmacy.
Caused by swelling of the lining of the nasal passages. A blocked nose can be relieved by a decongestant. Decongestant sprays don't have the side effects and potential medicine interactions that oral decongestants have. It's important not to use a decongestant spray or drops (topical decongestant) for more than a few days - this is due to the way that topical decongestants work. They work not by drying out nasal passages but by constricting blood vessels. After 4 - 5 days continuos use the blood vessels react by swelling to more than their original size once the medication wears off. The nasal membranes produce more and thicker mucus. If you then use spray or drops the cycle is started once more.
Some pain relievers help to lower temperature as well as ease the pain. Paracetamol (Panadol) helps to lower the temperature/pain associated with fever. There are a number of Paracetamol formulations available, and certainly one to suit you or your family. For example there are liquids, thicker suspensions, tablets, capsules, suppositories and even dissolvable tablets. CYBERCHEMIST can advise which formulation is best for you.
A dry irritating cough can be relieved by a cough suppressant. These should not be used for a productive cough that produces mucus or phlegm. For a productive cough an inhalation and/or an expectorant can help loosen the phlegm so it is brought up more easily. There are several well formulated cough products that will best help your particular symptoms. If you would like to know what symptoms you are treating, what medicine you are using & what it is doing, we can help. Ask a CyberChemist Pharmacist to help you get the right medicine for your symptoms. You can also see individual product information. It is important that you let us know if you are taking any Prescription medicines or other medicines as sometimes they can react with cold remedies.
Natural Cold Remedies
Natural Nutrition Echinacea complex is valuable for assisting resistance to mild infections. It is most useful at the onset of a cold or during 'rundown' conditions.
Nature's Own vitamin C is another cold symptom fighter. Vitamin C is not stored in the body so it needs to be taken regularly. 250mg, 500mg, and 1000mg tablets help to lessen the severity of the symptoms of cold & flu. Some studies show that vitamin C can alter the effects of oestrogen within the body. To err on the side of caution we advise you take your Vitamin C 8 hours before or after taking your oral contraceptive pill.
Natural Nutrition Cod Liver Oil is rich in vitamins A & D. Vitamin A helps maintain our defence mechanisms hence the importance of cod liver oil during winter. The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sun however during winter, sun exposure is limited & people cover up.
Nature's Own Garlic plus C & Horseradish complex is also very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of minor respiratory infections. Horseradish and Garlic are very well known for their powerful action in breaking up excess mucous and eliminating mucous from the body. Horseradish is a natural decongestant and Garlic has an antibiotic effect.