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Treating colds naturally
In most cases , something called a "rhinovirus" is the cause of the common cold, while a variety of other viruses are responsible for the remaining cases of the cold. However, bacterial infections are rarely the cause of upper respiratory symptoms so antibiotics won't help most colds. Almost all cases of the common cold are caused by VIRUSES, and antibiotics do not work against viral infections. In spite of this fact, an amazing 60% of colds are treated with antibiotics.
Researchers found that 60% of parents wrongly believe that some colds are caused by bacteria and nearly 50% mistakenly believe that things such as colds, green mucous and bronchitis should be treated with antibiotics.(1) Colds are actually caused by VIRUSES, and antibiotics and antibacterial lotions have no effect on them.
Nearly 50% of the parents also had misconceptions about what causes colds, with 45% thinking colds can be caused by not wearing enough clothing, 55% thinking colds can be caused by cold weather, and 35% thinking colds can be caused by going outdoors with wet hair (1).
Colds are more easily transmitted through contact with the nose and eyes more frequently than through the mouth.
The most common means of infection is not from sneezing or coughing, or walking barefoot in the rain, but from hand-to-hand contact. That is why washing your hands frequently when you have a cold is so important. If you are physically exhausted or overtired, also, the chances of you becoming a victim of the cold virus increase.
Children under 2 years of age generally get 10 to 12 colds per year, especially if they are in daycare. Older children and young adults get about 6 colds per year. After the age of 30, the number starts to decrease to about 3 colds per year on the average.
Natural treatments for the common cold
long as your temperature remains below 102 F there is no need to lower
it. Cold viruses do not reproduce at higher body temperatures and so this
is your body's way of defending itself. A slight fever should help you
get rid of the virus faster and feel better much sooner.
- A study showed that people who take aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen) suppress their body's ability to produce antibodies to destroy the cold virus (2). You should only use these drugs if you have a temperature higher than 105 F, severe muscle aches or weakness.
- Rest. Get all the rest your body needs to help fight off the cold. Also, if you exercise regularly, you don't need to stop. You should however definitely cut back on the intensity until you feel better.
- Wash your hands frequently and try to keep them away from your eyes and nose. Use disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs. If you are caring for a child who has a cold, wash your hands every time you have to wipe their nose. This will protect you from being infected. Try to use a mild soap which does not contain harmful chemicals. My favorite place on the internet for health-conscious soaps and hygiene products is here. Antibacterial soap won't help here as cold viruses don't respond to antibacterial products.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best. Try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses per day. This will ease the stuffiness and help the secretions loosen.
- Eating refined sugar weakens your immune system and promotes yeast overgrowth. This includes all non-diet soda pops which contain 8 teaspoons of sugar per can. Diet sodas are even worse for you as they contain the poison Aspartame.
- When using zinc lozenges, it is important to remember that they need to be sucked on, NOT swallowed, and having smaller doses more frequently seems to work better. I would suggest taking 1/4 (one quarter) tablet every half-hour (you can cut it with a sharp razor blade). If the zinc makes you nauseous then stop taking it as this is a sign of zinc toxicity. This works nearly 50% of the time. The best price I know of on the internet for zinc lozenges is here.
- Extra vitamin C is also helpful with cold symptoms. You can take 500-2,000 mg every 1 to 2 hours.
- Garlic is an excellent natural antibiotic. You might use 6 capsules 4 times a day for several days, or eat a few fresh gloves if you - and those around you - don't mind the odor. Echinacea is the most widely used herbal medication in Europe for colds and infections.
Why avoid an antibiotic when you have a cold?
Medical science currently does not have any drugs which can kill these cold viruses. Antibiotics, including penicillin, DO NOT have any effect on viruses. Antibiotics are only used to treat the secondary bacterial infections which can complicate a cold.
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(1) Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America San Francisco, CA October 26, 2001
(2) J Infect Dis Dec 1990
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Work in progress. My neurofeedback app for Android will be available in the Google Play Store when completed.
The Neurosky EEG headset I am wearing in the video is available here.
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