The common cold is a viral infection of the lining of the nose, sinuses, throat and large airways. This is the upper respiratory tract infection that is caused by a virus. There are many different viruses that cause colds, but the common ones are the rhinoviruses, within which there are about a hundred known subtypes.
Colds mainly spread when a person’s hands come in contact with nasal secretions from an infected person. Less often, colds are spread when a person breathes air that contains droplets that were coughed or sneezed out by the infected person. A cold is most contagious in the first one or two days after symptoms develop.
Symptoms of Cold
Symptoms of the common cold start 1 to 3 days after infection. The first symptoms would be discomfort in the nose or throat. Then sneezing starts, and the infected person has a runny nose and feels mildly ill. Fever is not common but may develop.
Initially, the secretions from the nose may be watery and clear. Eventually it becomes thicker, opaque, yellow-green and less. Sometimes, cough may also develop. Symptoms usually disappear in 4 to 10 days, although the cough may last longer.
Build up your immune system with plenty fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C if you are prone to catching a cold. A strong immune system is the best defense against cold.
If you are unfortunate enough to get infected, the best way to stop a cold is to nip it in the bud when you feel it coming on. Once the virus establishes a firm foothold, it will take a much longer time and suffering before you can be rid of it completely.
When you have the cold, as the name suggests, your internal body is “cold” so you need to keep warm and take foods that heat up your body, like hot chicken soup. Although oranges are often recommended for its vitamin C, it should be avoided when you’ve already caught that cold. Citrus fruits may irritate the throat and cause more mucus. Another thing you definitely must avoid when you have the cold is milk and dairy products.
During a cold, drown yourself with plenty clear liquids. Drink lots of warm water with a pinch of Celtic sea salt. The water should be as warm as possible yet not too hot that it burns your lips. The warm water helps to relieve the soreness in the throat, and the sea salt (not table salt) helps break up the accumulating mucus and congestion in the chest.
You will need plenty of rest too. Take time to sleep out your cold. It is a way for your body to tell you to slow down and take it easy. You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel with that extra rest.
Here’s a very effective recipe that helps prevent that cold coming on: Juice half a lemon together with its peel, and one inch of ginger. Mix them in a glass of 200 ml of very warm water, and stir in one tablespoon of raw honey. Drink three or four times throughout the day.