If you get a nasty cold this holiday season you’re not alone because almost one billion people worldwide will have a cold similar to yours and at about the same time.
“The holidays” are fun, hectic and exciting but they can also be so much fun that people’s resistance is lowered and the next thing they know they have a holiday cold to beat all colds. While the holiday season is the most hectic time of year for many people there are ways to avoid getting sick, which often is the end result of a weakened immune system brought on by too much holiday play or stress, or both.
Unfortunately, while cures have been found for countless illnesses, a cure for the common cold remains elusive. With most people experiencing two to four colds per year this illness can result in thousands of lost days of work as well as misery for those who are experiencing them.
According to an article written by family physician, Dr. Rallie McAllister in The Paramus Post, taking the herb Echinacea and/or zinc may help prevent colds, a subject long debated in the medical world.
Referring to astudy conducted at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. McAllister notes that cold suffers who used 13.3 milligrams of zinc lozenges every two to three hours cut the length of their symptoms in half compared to those who took placebo lozenges. Like the herb Echinacea, zinc appears to raise the body’s immune system by keeping the cold virus from latching onto cells in the respiratory track. The article stated that people who took Echinacea before the onset of a cold have a better chance of avoiding one because researchers believe it not only helps the body’s immune system but it reportedly can help reduce the symptoms by several days if the person comes down with a cold.
Colds are spread by germs from person to person by sneezing or shaking hands with someone who has, or is about to unknowingly get a cold. They can also be spread by people blowing their nose into a tissue, covering a sneeze or touching their nose. Children, of course, are great “incubators” for cold viruses. Dr. McAllister said that as early as an hour after cold viruses have infected the lining of a nose and throat the cells begin to release chemicals and these chemicals swell the mucus membranes which then leads to nasal congestion and stuffiness. Voila! You have a cold!
Remember, your Mountains Community Hospital physician is always available and the hospital’s website, www.mchcares.com has valuable information on a variety of topics to help keep you and your family safe.