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Colds can be prevented this winter season

No cold this winter

A cold? Not this year!

No sooner has the first person comes coughing and sneezing into the office, you know it. The cold season has officially begun. The good news is, you don’t have to surrender. We’ll tell you how to stop a cold before it takes hold and have you feeling better by tomorrow.

The common cold…. What’s it all about?

The cold hard facts:

If you have a cold, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the flu. Typically much more serious, the flu is caused by certain strains of the influenza virus and symptoms include sudden high fever and extreme fatigue. In contrast, the common cold usually develops rather slowly - usually beginning with a sore throat. Depending on the strain - rhinovirus, parainfluenza, coxsackie, or RSV - the symptoms can vary from extreme coughs/colds all the way to strep throat. Typical recovery time from the common cold takes 7 to 14 days.

Tips to Prevent a Cold

Take charge of your health and start by using these steps:

vitamins 1. Strengthen your body and your immune system

Cold prevention measures should not be limited to one season, but instead be part of a year-round health programme.

This includes: a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins, regular exercise, fresh air, adequate sleep and a reduced level of “negative” stress. Exercise is an essential factor for strengthening your immune system. Cardiovascular exercise - such as running or cycling - strengthens your body and improves your ability to fight off any viruses.

Ensure that you are eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. This way, your body is gaining important vitamins and phytochemicals that improve your resistance to unwanted intruders. Vitamins from fresh food sources are always preferred over vitamin supplements, as the supplement form is not successfully utilized by your body. Save yourself some money by leave out the the pills and buy fresh, local produce instead!

Another great tip to improve your immune system is to go to saunas regularly. Studies based in Finland have found that people who used a sauna on a regular basis had a better ability to fight off the cold virus than those who didn’t.


2. Keep the virus at bay

A strong defense is all well and good, but the sheer superiority of the cold virus can cause even the best immune system to surrender. That’s why it is just as important to avoid contact with the virus itself in order to protect your health.

Avoid shaking hands.
That seems a little rude but shaking hands is a very fast and effective way to spread the virus, so at least during cold season, try to avoid it.

Wash your hands frequently.
Again, hands are the best carriers for spreading the cold virus. Doorknobs, computer keyboards, etc are all excellent carriers of bacteria. Unlike shaking hands, this one can’t really be avoided, so make sure you are washing your hands several times a day. Be sure to avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your hands as well.

Correct ventilation.
Whether at home or in the office, take time to bring fresh air into your surroundings regularly. As the weather gets colder we naturally turn up the heat, however, warm, stale air dries out the mucous membranes in the nose, which makes them less effective at protecting your sinuses from the virus.

You caught a cold but don’t fear, it’s not too late!

Runny nose, coughing, sore throat, fever? Yes, it’s got me! But these measures will reduce your time of suffering.

1. Stay calm
Easier said than done for working professionals and physically active people- but even with the common cold, the body needs to rest in order to combat the virus. Take 2 or 3 days to rest and it will be worth it. If you don’t, you run the risk of the virus turning into something more serious - and you definitely don’t want pneumonia.

2. Stay hydrated.
Liquid is the best support for your body. Drink plenty of water and tea to flush out the virus. Hydration is always important, but especially if you have a fever.

3. Home remedies
Although scientific effectiveness can not always be proven, many people swear by the success of their own home remedies and apply them successfully. From chicken broth to steam inhalation to sage tea, simply try out what best works for you. Some studies currently indicate that taking zinc can reduce the length the common cold has its grip over you.

4. Take precautions when it comes to medications
When you don’t feel well, it’s easy to want to reach for a “quick fix.” The problem with using pain relievers is that they just suppress the symptoms temporarily and don’t address the illness itself. For example, with a mild fever, it is best to leave it than to take something to reduce it, so that the body can build its defenses while combating the fever.

In certain cases, like when a fever rises above 39 degrees, medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen is useful. In cases of severe coryza, using a decongestant nasal spray can be a relief- just make sure it is not used for more than 7 days, because it can damage your nasal mucosa.

How long can you infect others?

If you do not want to infect those around you, you should also remember to avoid close contact with others for about a week or so. Unfortunately, there is still a risk of infection - especially since you are carrying the virus (and thus infectious) one or two days before you even know you have it.

Can you exercise while you have a cold?

Your nose is running - should you still go out for a run? The answer is, it depends. A light cold should not deter you from your usual sports and activities, as long as you don’t over exert yourself. However, extreme fatigue, bad headache and cough are all signs that your body would do better to rest than to work out. In other words: listen to your body - it will tell you the right thing to do.

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