Cold weather is on the horizon. Don’t be dismayed; however, because there are several things you can do to prevent the sniffles, coughs and congestion. A cold is defined as an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus that usually affects the nose but may also affect the throat, sinuses and bronchial tubes. The cold is the most commonly occurring illness in the entire world, with more than 1 billion colds per year reported in the United States alone. The common cold is a self-limiting illness caused by any one of more than 250 viruses.
The common cold produces mild symptoms usually lasting only five to 10 days although some symptoms may last for up to three weeks. In contrast, the “flu” (influenza), which is caused by a different class of virus, can cause severe symptoms but initially may mimic a cold. Most viruses that cause colds are very contagious and are transmitted from person to person.
Winter’s frigid temperatures make us more vulnerable to whatever germs we are exposed to. The most common cold virus thrives in drier, less humid air. This also can lead to drying of the nasal passages which further increases one’s risk for a viral infection. Using a neti pot or saline spray helps keep the nasal passages moist and clears thick mucus, and viral products from the nose. Being cooped up indoors with other people for longer periods of time also increases the risk that cold and flu viruses will spread. Our body’s primary line of defense is the immune system. The immune system relies on the diet for important nutrients such as the antioxidants which are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. For added defense, the CDC recommends you wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing all the way to your wrists.
According to a study at the University of Connecticut, which was published in the medical journal called the Lancet, Echinacea is extremely effective at reducing the common cold. The study clearly demonstrated that Echinacea would reduce the chances of catching a cold by half, and would reduce the duration of the cold by 1.4 days. Vita Logic’s Cold C Formula with Echinacea is an excellent supplement to take during the cold and flu season. It contains the antioxidant vitamin C plus bioflavonoids. In addition it contains two strains of Echinacea, as well as Zinc and Elderberry. When taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, Cold C Formula with Echinacea will help reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of a cold.
Other remedies that are helpful include chicken soup, probiotics and garlic. Chicken soup is about as traditional a natural remedy for a cold as you can get. Chicken soup and warm liquids (broth, tea) can help soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus, which in turn helps ease congestion from a cold.
“Good” bacteria or probiotics help prevent infections in the intestines, and there is preliminary evidence that they might help prevent colds, too. One study found that children in daycare centers who drank milk fortified with Lactobacillus had fewer and less severe colds. Several studies that examined probiotics combined with vitamins and minerals also found a reduction in the number of colds caught by adults.
In one study, people who took garlic for 12 weeks between November and February had 63 percent fewer colds than people who took placebo. Those who did get a cold recovered about one day faster.
Fortunately, these natural remedies will help protect us from colds and flu. Prevention is the best natural remedy when it comes to colds and flu but the immune supporting natural remedies offered here when taken properly will many times stop colds and flu in its tracks. Don’t forget to also get sufficient rest to keep your immune system strong to prevent colds and flu and to restore your energy.