The Cold Truth

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"A cup of prevention is better than
a bucket of cure!"

Confronted with the dangers of world outbreak, diseases which come and go, let this be your "Cup of Health" . . .


At one time or another, every one of us succumbs to the common cold. The bravest, the strongest, the sweetest, the smartest – our virtues matter not to these viruses as they set about reducing us to coughing, sneezing shadows of our former selves.

It Could Be More Than a Cold

If your cold is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, see your doctor. Your problem may be a more serious disorder than the common cold:

  • Fevers that remain above 101°F for more than three days, or any fever above 103°F. Children with high fevers should see a doctor within 24 hours.
  • Any hot, extreme pain, such as earache, swollen tonsils, sinus pain, or aching lungs or chest
  • Excessively large amounts of sputum, or sputum that is greenish or bloody
  • Extreme difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive loss of appetite
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

The Cold Truth

So you've got a cold that won't let go, and you'd love to know just who or what to blame? Elliot Dick, Ph.D., a virologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has conducted research for more than 30 years on how colds are transmitted, says a lot of suspects have been taking a bum rap. They include:

  • Sharing food or beverages with someone with a cold
  • Kissing someone with a cold
  • Not bundling up against the cold
  • Sitting in a draft
  • Stepping outside with a wet head

The real carrier, of course, is a virus transmitted through the air, says Dr. Dick. You can catch it, he says, when a cold sufferer coughs, sneezes, or does a sloppy job of blowing his nose, sending the virus floating into your path.

Take C and See

"Vitamin C works in the body as a scavenger, picking up all sorts of trash – including virus trash," says Keith W. Sehnert, M.D., a physician with Trinity Health Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "It can shorten the length of a cold from seven days to maybe about two or three days."

The Alternate Route

Herbs and Teas – Certain herbs and teas contain special properties that are natural antagonists against colds, according to two doctors who recommend them to their patients. Herb teas can be just as effective, says Timothy Van Ert, M.D. Here's his prescription:

  • Licorice Root Tea. Dr. Van Ert says that this tea has an anesthetizing effect that soothes irritated throats and relieves coughs. Drink it daily.
  • Other Teas. For a good night's sleep, brew a cup of hops or valarian herb teas or Celestial Seasonings Sleepy-time tea, all of which have a natural tranquilizing effect. For even better results, he suggests that you add a teaspoon of honey, a simple carbohydrate that will have a sedative effect.

Garlic – This familiar herb has an antibiotic effect, says Dr. Haas, another health authority. "It can actually kill germs and clear up your cold symptoms more rapidly." He recommends two to three oil-free garlic capsules three time a day.

Monolaurian – This fatty acid, available in capsule form, has been shown in research to have an antiviral effect, says Dr. Van Ert, helping the immune system gear up in the battle against the cold virus. He recommends two capsules three times a day, taken with some food.

Don't Spread Your Germs

When you need to cough, go ahead and cough. When you need to blow your nose, go ahead and blow. But cough and sneeze into disposable tissues instead of setting germs free in the environment, Dr. Van Ert advises, then promptly throw the tissue away and wash your hands. Your healthy friends and family who wants to stay that way will appreciate it.

Source: The Doctors Book of Home Remedies

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