What we consume is one of the key defences against contracting colds. A healthy diet which includes balanced amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables will go a long way to strengthening your immune system thereby helping you to fight off colds and flu. Despite the millions of cases contracted each year, there is still not an effective cure for the common cold. Research has however suggested that introducing zinc into your diet may go some way to lessening the duration of the virus. Also highlighted were high levels of stress as being a contributory factor to contracting the common cold.
Some of the best dietary sources to obtain zinc include liver, eggs, red meat and oysters and it is widely believed that increasing your consumption of vitamin C can help reduce the symptoms when you have contracted a cold.
Although no clinical evidence is available to suggest this is correct, many people have tried the vitamin C remedy and found it to be effective. Increasing your intake of vitamin C to a moderate level will not do you any harm over short periods. Once you’ve contracted the cold try taking 2 to 3 g of vitamin C each day for a seven day period to see if this helps to alleviate your symptoms.
It is important to caution however the very large doses of vitamin C categorised as more than 4 g per day, should not be taken over extended periods given the possibility of causing kidney stones. Women in pregnancy should not take increased doses of vitamin C for fear of causing damage to your unborn child.
Being highly contagious, colds and flu derive from a viral infection ordinarily spread through the nose via sneezing and by the virus being present on your hands. The cold virus present upon your hands can survive for many hours and therefore it is always wise to wash your hands frequently should you or individuals around you, be suffering from cold or flu symptoms. Your chances of contracting the cold or flu virus has shown to be increased through excess stress levels, exhaustion, and depression all of which have been shown to lower your body’s resistance. The old wives tale around sitting in a draft causing you a cold is a common misconception and is not true.
Medical physicians suggest that if you have contracted a cold or flu that you consume moderate amounts of fluids, at least 6 to 8 glasses a day. This helps to prevent the effects of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and warm drinks made with fruit juices of lemon and a teaspoon of honey. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and the honey helps to relieve your sore throat. The traditional cold remedy called the hot toddy is made from lemon juice, honey and a small measure of alcohol added to boiling water. There is no scientific evidence to suggest this remedy is effective but it certainly provides comfort and is a soothing drink which may help you to relax and sleep.
Inhaling hot steam to relieve your sinuses is an effective way to unblock your nose. Place a bowl of hot water on a table and sit down with a towel over your head to trap the steam and inhale the vapours for a few minutes at a time. You can also add some decongesting eucalyptus oil to the water to help speed up the process.
Give your body time to rest and recover when suffering from cold or flu. If you continue to carry out your normal daily duties you will hinder the body’s efforts to combat the virus whilst at the same time helping to spread its infection to other people. Finally, when you feel you recovered sufficiently, go for a brisk walk and take in some fresh air.