Cold viruses attack the upper respiratory tract. The flu (used to be called the grippe), is a viral infection that comes on suddenly, usually bringing fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough and a general weakness. Your muscles and head ache. You may get chills.
Most colds clear up on their own in a week or ten days, but occasionally a
cold can lead to a more serious illness, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or
Flu viruses and cold viruses are completely different.
Sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose-everyone knows the first signs of a cold, probably the most common illness known.
The Viruses. More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold.
Some seldom produce serious illnesses. Others produce mild infections in adults but can precipitate severe lower respiratory infections in young
children. Since there are so many different viruses, there has
never been a "vaccine" for the cold.
The Cold Season
In the United States, most colds occur during the fall and winter. Beginning in late August or early September, the
incidence of colds increases slowly for a few weeks and remains high until March or April, when it declines. The seasonal
variation may relate to the opening of schools and to cold weather, which prompt people to spend more time indoors and
increase the chances that viruses will spread from person to person.
Seasonal changes in relative humidity also may affect the prevalence of colds. The most common cold-causing viruses
survive better when humidity is low-the colder months of the year. Cold weather also may make the nasal passages' lining
drier and more vulnerable to viral infection.
Symptoms of the common cold usually begin two to three days after infection and often include nasal discharge, obstruction
of nasal breathing, swelling of the sinus membranes, sneezing, sore throat, cough, and headache. F ever is usually slight but
can climb to 102 degrees F in infants and young children. Cold symptoms can last from two to 14 days, but two-thirds of people
recover in a week. If symptoms occur often or last much longer than two weeks, they may be the result of an allergy rather
than a cold.
Colds occasionally can lead to secondary bacterial infections of the middle ear or sinuses, requiring treatment with
antibiotics. High fever, significantly swollen glands, severe facial pain in the sinuses, and a cough that produces mucus,
may indicate a complication or more serious illness requiring a doctor's attention.
How Cold Viruses Cause Disease
Viruses cause infection by overcoming the body's complex defense system. The body's first line of defense is mucus,
produced by the membranes in the nose and throat. Mucus traps the material we inhale: pollen, dust, bacteria and viruses.
When a virus penetrates the mucus and enters a cell, it commandeers the protein-making machinery to manufacture new
viruses which, in turn, attack surrounding cells.
Cold symptoms: the body fights back. Cold symptoms are probably the result of the body's immune response to the viral invasion.
Virus-infected cells in the nose send out signals that recruit specialized white blood cells to the site of the infection. In
turn, these cells emit a range of immune system chemicals such as kinins. These chemicals probably lead to the symptoms of the
common cold by causing swelling and inflammation of the nasal membranes, leakage of proteins and fluid from capillaries and
lymph vessels, and the increased production of mucus.
How Colds are Spread
Depending on the virus type, any or all of the following routes of transmission may be common:
Touching infectious respiratory secretions on skin and on environmental surfaces and then touching the eyes or nose.
Inhaling relatively large particles of respiratory secretions transported briefly in the air. Inhaling droplet nuclei:
smaller infectious particles suspended in the air for long periods of time.
Research on rhinovirus transmission. Much of the research on the transmission of the common cold has been
done with rhinoviruses, which are shed in the highest concentration in nasal secretions. Studies suggest a person is
most likely to transmit rhinoviruses in the second to fourth day of infection, when the amount of virus in nasal secretions
is highest. Researchers also have shown that using aspirin to treat colds increases the amount of virus shed in nasal
secretions, possibly making the cold sufferer more of a hazard to others.
We've all been hearing a lot about
the flu lately, and there is controversy around
flu shots and so-called pandemics.
Any flu should be
prevented and treated by addressing the immune
system. There are different supplements you can
take on a regular basis to boost the immune
Hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to keep from getting
the flu. Not touching the nose or eyes is
another. Individuals with the flu (or a cold) should always sneeze or cough into a facial tissue, and promptly throw it away. If possible,
one should avoid close, prolonged exposure to persons who have the flu.
Because rhinoviruses can survive up to three hours outside the nasal passages on inanimate objects and skin, cleaning
environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help prevent spread of infection.
C - One of the most important things that is needed is
Vitamin C. The body will need 5,000-20,000 mg
day to fight the
infection. But you want a
real whole food, natural vitamin C, not something
made in the lab and given the name "ascorbic
acid". Ascorbic Acid is just part of
the C complex and wanting C and getting ascorbic
acid is like wanting an egg and getting the
natural vitamin is food that the body recognizes
as food, can assimilate and use to fight the virus
Click on the Vitamin C link for an exceptionally
good form of Vitamin C. It doesn't upset
your stomach and really makes a
difference. Go to Vitamin
Magnesium- An important nutrient in
fighting infection. The body needs
calcium when fighting infection. If you are
not getting enough Calcium in you food, the body
will start using calcium from the body - this is
the made reason for body aches, the calcium in the
muscle is being used.
Here again, a whole food calcium
magnesium is needed. You
can also get a Vitamin Mineral and Calcium
Magnesium that will help you to build up that body
and is a good thing to take to ward off any
Hot tea with a little honey is a tried and true remedy for a stuffy nose.
Inhaling steam loosens mucus in the nasal passages helping to wash away infecting organisms.
Chicken soup - Contain zinc
For an effect on your sinuses try something spicy. Use lots of horseradish, mustard, cayenne, chili pepper and garlic on our food. Such hot, spicy foods - by loosening up your abnormal secretions - clear your sinuses, your nose and your lungs.
Honey - Honey consists of simple sugars, which break down easily in the
body, so it provides quick energy. It is processed very little, so it's
healthier to use than sugar. If you choose to believe the anecdotal
evidence, it can help everything from a sore throat and sleeplessness to
minor scratches and cuts. Here's just one recipe for the cold and flu
a glass of hot milk
one or two teaspoons of honey
A shot of brandy
Mix it up and down the hatch to sooth that rough throat and help you
Things that don't help:
Nonprescription cold remedies, including decongestants and cough suppressants, may relieve some cold symptoms but will not
prevent, cure, or even shorten the duration of illness. Moreover, most have some side effects, such as drowsiness,
dizziness, insomnia, or upset stomach, and should be taken with care.
Nonprescription antihistamines may have some effect in relieving inflammatory responses such as runny nose and watery
eyes that are commonly associated with colds. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. These prescription drugs
should be used only for rare bacterial complications, such as sinusitis or ear infections, that can develop as secondary
infections. The use of antibiotics "just in case" will not prevent secondary bacterial infections.
What is it? A sore throat is an inflammation of the throat caused by either
viruses or bacteria.
How do you catch it? The infection is spread by sharing drinks, kissing, sneezing,
nose blowing, and by contaminated objects passed from hand to mouth.
What are the symptoms? Symptoms can include:
painful, red throat; difficulty swallowing; swollen tonsils; pus; headache;
fever feeling "blah"; swollen lymph nodes ("glands").
What can you do? Whether the sore throat is due to a virus or bacteria,
take the supplements you would take when you have a cold, plus the following will help to make you feel better:
DRINK FLUIDS: Clear liquids are most soothing and help to thin out the mucus at the back of your throat. Cold
and mild (not citric) juices are often preferred although some people find warmer liquids feel better.
WARM SALT WATER GARGLES: These help to soothe and heal. Add
1/2 teaspoon of table salt to 1 cup of warm tap water and gargle with this solution at least four times a day.
If you have fever higher than 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C).
If sore throat lasts more than 5 days.
If you see pus on your tonsils.
If you develop a sore throat after being in contact with someone diagnosed as having strep throat.
If sore throat seems severe and/or worsens quickly.
If you have a sore throat with a previous diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease, rheumatic fever or heart murmurs.
Anytime you are unsure of what to do.
A Note About Strep Throat
Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils. It can only be diagnosed by throat culture.
Strep throat pain, like pain of sore throats caused by viruses, can be relieved somewhat with measures mentioned. Antibiotics
are not given to relieve throat pain, but are given to prevent complications that can occur in untreated strep
infections where you get a secondary bacterial
Complications include rheumatic heart disease and glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney). For this
reason, if an antibiotic is prescribed it is very important to take all of it as instructed. If a natural antibiotic is prescribed then follow
your health care professionals' instructions.
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We have used our best judgment in compiling this information. The Food and Drug Administration may not have evaluated the information presented. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease