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18Oct/110

Conquering the Common Cold

Conquering the Common Coldby Mari PeckhamWhat do we know about the Common Cold?*No Cure. Antibiotics, designed to knock out bacterial infections, donothing when it comes to treating a cold.*None of us are safe! No matter how strong and healthy we are, anoccasional cold will reduce us to whimpering, sneezing,coughing versions of our former selves.So, what do we do? Lay back with a box of tissue, pop a couple ofcold tabs and wait it out? Not necessarily! Doctors who specializein self-care medicine say that there is a lot more that we can do toget through a cold comfortably, and possibly more quickly! Here issome of the best advice that experts have to offer on the subject.**Vitamin C - "Vitamin C works in the body as a scavenger, pickingup all sorts of trash - including virus trash," Says Keith W.Sehnert, M.D., a physician with Trinity Health Care inMinneapolis, Minnesota. "It can shorten the length of a cold fromseven days to maybe two or three."Studies conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that coldsufferers taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C four times a daysuffered from about half as many symptoms (coughing, sneezing.etc) as those not taking the vitamin.Best way to get it? Drink it! Orange, grapefruit, and cranberryjuices are excellent sources of vitamin C.**Zinc - Suck on zinc lozenges and cut your cold short, to anaverage of just 4 days! It also can help reduce symptoms suchas dry, irritated throat. Unfortunately, it doesn't work foreveryone,but when it works, it works!**R and R - Take a day or two off of work, or at least slow down!Extra rest enables your body to focus it's energy on getting youwell.**Stay Warm - Keep your immune system cozy by bundling upagainst the cold. This way your body can use energy to fight yourcold instead of protecting you from the cold.**Eat Lightly - Eat, but steer clear of foods that put a strain onyourbody's metabolism. Eat fewer fatty foods, meat and milkproducts, and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.**Chicken Soup - A silly folk remedy? No! Researchers at theMount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach have found that hotchicken soup, either because of its aroma or its taste, "appears topossess an additional substance for increasing the flow of nasalmucus." Researchers say that this mucus serves as a first line ofdefense in removing germs from your system, so eat up!**Liquids - Drink six to eight glasses of water, juice, tea, and othermostly clear liquids daily to keep the body hydrated and to flushout impurities.**NO Smoking! - Smoking aggravates the throat and interferes withthe infection-fighting activity of the cilia, themicroscopic "fingers"that sweep bacteria out of your lungs and throat. Even if you don'tquit for good, at least stop for the duration of your cold.**Salty Gargle - Dr. Van Ert of San Francisco advises mixing 1teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and gargling awaywhenever your throat hurts.**Hot Toddy - Get a good night's sleep and clear a stuffed-up noseby sipping a "hot toddy" or a half a glass of wine before bedtime,suggests Dr. Caughron, a family practitioner specializing inpreventive medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia. But don't gooverboard! More alcohol than that can stress out your systemand make recovery more difficult.**Get Steamed - Clear congestion and relieve a dry cough bytaking a hot steamy shower. Or make a steam tent by draping atowel over your head above a bowl of boiling water.**Keep Your Germs to Yourself - Cough and blow away, but do itinto a disposable tissue instead of sharing them! Then promptlythrow the tissue away and wash your hands.**Medicate - If you decide to take over the counter medication,follow the instructions carefully and only take medication thataddresses the symptoms that you are suffering from.Looking for alternatives to drugs? Try these herbs and teas thatcontain special properties that are natural antagonists againstcolds!*Goldenseal and Echinacea - "I recommend herb capsules suchas goldenseal and echinacea at the early onset of a cold," saysElson Haas, M.D. He says that goldenseal stimulates your liver,which helps to clear up infections. Echinacia clean your blood andlymph glands, helping circulate infection-fighting antibodies andremoving toxic substances from the body. Try one or twocapsules twice a day for up to two weeks.*Garlic - Garlic is known for its antibiotic effect and "canactuallykill germs and clear up your cold symptoms more rapidly," saysDr. Haas. He recommends two or three oil-free garlic capsulesthree times a day.*Licorice Root Tea - Dr Van Ert recommends this teas for it'sanesthetizing effects for soothing irritated throats and relievingcoughs.*Other Teas - Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea, or tea brewedwith hops or valarian her, have natural tranquilizing effects thatwillhelp you rest. Add a teaspoon of honey, a simple carbohydratethat has a sedative effect.*Monolaurian - Dr. Van Ert also recommends this fatty acid(available in capsule form) for it's antiviral effect. Herecommendstaking two capsules three times a day with some food, for helpingthe immune system stay fit to battle the cold virus.A cold may be something that we have to live with, and through, butfinding ways to make the best of it will help you get back on yourfeet in record time.

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