There is a tickle in my throat, not surprising as it is that time of year: a time when sneezing, coughing and runny noses begin. Other symptoms may include a sore throat, congested nasal passages, watery eyes and mild headaches. The common cold: a viral infection that seems to thrive during the colder months of the year.
The cold is infectious and can be spread by touching your eyes, nose or mouth with fingers that have the virus on them; or spending time in close contact with an infected person. And if you are not getting enough sleep, it may catch you unaware.
I try to stick to certain habits to try avoid catching a cold. I make sure that I get enough sleep so that my body is strong enough to fight against any virus it comes into contact with. I wash my hands thoroughly with plain soap and water after I have touched something that could be covered with virus – especially when I come home after I have been in public areas like on the bus, or a supermarket. I don’t use a anti-bacterial soap wash for two reasons: the cold is a viral infection and using an anti-bacterial chemical on my hands will not kill any virus. Secondly, an anti-bacterial wash kills both the good and bad bacteria. I do not want to destroy the beneficial bacteria that I have living on my hands.
It is suggested that you avoid contact with those who have a cold. However this is not always possible – whether you are working with those infected, or living with them. What I do is not touch my eyes or nose after being in contact with someone who has a cold, throw away tissues after use to prevent the spread of infection, and keep rooms well aired (oh yes, I open a window or two even though it is below zero outside).
Taking antibiotics to cure a cold is ineffective. The common cold is a viral infection and antibiotics are made to work against bacterial infections. When anyone in my family has a cold, we focus on two things: rest and drinking plenty of liquids (that is, water – not coffee or soda). Also, if we do not feel hungry, we do not eat.
This is my family’s strategy with dealing with the common cold. What is yours?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013