Advice Column, Health

First Aid For The Common Cold

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At this time of the year, every second person either has one or is getting over one. Firstly how do you know it is just a common old cold and not the flu?

Symptoms of a cold are: Sore throat, runny nose or congestion, sneezing and mild or no fever. Should these symptoms develop into moderate to high fever with bodily aches and pains, you’re probably looking at flu.

What to do?

At the first signs of a cold (usually tingling in the nose, a scratchy throat and smarting eyes), start taking a supplementing of buffered vitamin C with bioflavonoids (preferably not ascorbic acid) at a dose of 1g every 30 minutes. You should be feeling a lot better after the third dose however continue at this high dose for the first day, till bowel tolerance is reached and stools become loose, then cut back on the dosage. For the next few days take 1g at least 3 times a day until you feel you have recovered completely.

Zinc supplements have been shown to significantly reduce the severity of cold symptoms, as well as the length of the illness, but try to start within 24 hours of the onset of common cold symptoms. Take a 30mg capsule every 2 hours or suck zinc lozenges.

Supplements of garlic extract may also reduce the days you suffer. Studies have reported significant improvements for the number of symptoms, the number of days and incidences that people felt under the weather, as well as a decrease in days missed at work. Raw, fresh garlic works better than cooked but the downside to fresh garlic is that the breath odour can stay as long as 2 days, so it is not appropriate to those who are in close contact with others. In this case take a supplement that leaves no odour on the breath.

Timing is key so these supplements need to be on hand in your first aid cabinet to use as soon as cold symptoms manifest.

What else can you do?

Stay hydrated! Proper hydration allows for efficient transmission of your body’s most critical communications and helps eliminate toxins and foreign invaders so you can clear infections more efficiently. Pure water is of course the best hydrator.

Get proper sleep. A deep, restorative sleep cycle is fundamental to your body’s repair process and supporting your immune system. A number of studies have demonstrated that failing to get enough sleep has numerous consequences for physical, mental and emotional health.

Also don’t forget to take vitamin D daily, especially in winter when most of get almost no sunshine. Recurrent colds may just be due to a vitamin D deficiency. You probably need to take at least 4000IU vitamin D per day in Winter.

Is the flu vaccine really necessary?

A major review of flu vaccines appeared in the prestigious journal Lancet in which the author screened a massive 5 700 articles and found only 31 studies worthy of inclusion. The author, Professor Michael Osterholm, like many other researchers, concluded that there was only good evidence for a moderate efficacy in healthy adults, and no real evidence of protection in those over 65 years, or in children. This is a pity because the fact is that most healthy adults don’t die from the flu, and the ones that could do with the protection are the elderly and young children.

Numerous studies are showing that everyone would be much better off taking vitamin D in high doses. This is safer than the flu vaccine and does not have any side-effects. Vitamin D does not kill the flu virus; it simply improves the resistance of the body to all viral infections.

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