5 things to do when you catch a cold


Dr. Jen Tan
@AVogelUK


27 December 2013

Catching a cold

We do our best to avoid it, but sometimes, no matter how much we do to strengthen our immune system by way of eating the right things and avoiding stress, we still come down with a cold or flu. Some naturopaths believe that this is actually a good thing – having these occasional viral infections helps ‘exercise’ the immune system and make it stronger in the fight against future infections.

So what can you do if you do catch a cold? Here are 4 things to try and 1 important thing to avoid.

What to do when you catch a cold

Allow yourself plenty of rest. Some of us may have no choice but to work through a cold. It may be because of work or domestic circumstances but for others, it is because of a stubborn will and not wanting to give in to what seems a minor health problem. If you are able to, spending time at home without responsibilities or even a day in bed will help your immune system strengthen, speeding up recovery time. Take the chance to read the book or watch the film you never had time for – better still if it makes you laugh. Research has shown that laughter is indeed good medicine as it not only reduces stress chemicals in the body but improves immune function [1].

Drink plenty. I mean water, not alcohol. Water and fruit juices are perfect and will help you avoid dehydration. This is especially important if you have a fever. If catarrh troubles you, drinking warm water with lemon and a tablespoon of honey will help ease it. If nasal congestion makes it difficult for you to breathe, try Sinuforce Nasal Spray.

Have some chicken soup. This may be scorned as an ‘old wives tale’ but scientists have found that, as with many traditional remedies, it is true. Chicken soup contains a substance known as carnosine which works on the body’s immune system, especially during the early stages of infection by the cold or flu virus, reducing inflammation[2]. Interestingly, the researchers found that chicken soup made with vegetables was better.

Take Echinacea. Echinacea is perhaps the most popular herb for treating colds and flu . It works in a unique way by increasing the body’s resistance to infection by strengthening the immune system, allowing the body to fight off bugs better. Use of the herb is supported by a large amount of research evidence which also shows that using a combination of both herb (parts above the ground) and root gives the best result [3,4,5].

Avoid taking too many painkillers. This is the one to look out for. Many synthetic cold and flu remedies contain paracetamol which can be toxic to the liver. In 2011, researchers at Edinburgh University found that a significant number of people were unintentionally overdosing on paracetamol. This was down to a variety of reasons, but mainly because they had used 2 or 3 different types of cold remedies without realising they contained paracetamol, as well as taking paracetamol itself. Out of over 660 patients admitted with liver damage, almost a quarter were there because of their use of cold and flu remedies containing conventional painkillers[5]. To avoid this, switch your conventional cold and flu drinks for Echinaforce Hot Drink. This soothing drink helps comfort you as well as relieving symptoms and aiding recovery.

References

[1] Bennett MP, Lengacher C. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 June; 6(2):159-164. Doi10.1093/ecoma/nem149
[2] Rennard BO, et al. Chest 2000 Oct; 118(4):1150-7
[3] The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1. Art. No: CD000530.pub.
[4] Jawad, M, Schoop R, Suter A, Klein P, Eccles R. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012.Doi 10.1155/2012/841315
[5] Craig DGN et al. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04067.x

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