Cold and Flu – Treatment, Prevention and Home Remedies for Cold and Flu
Cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that includes the nose and throat and is usually harmless and you may suffer from a stuffy or runny nose, cough and sore throat. On an average adults suffer 2 to 4 colds per year and children get between 6 and 10 colds per year. Cold is caused by the rhino virus, whereas flu also show the same symptoms but the causative organism is the influenza virus. 5 to 20% of the American population suffer with flu each year. Flu is similar to cold ,but the symptoms are much severe.
Treatment for Cold and Flu
The medical treatment for cold and flu are also the same and depends on the severity of the symptoms. They include:
- Pain relievers can be taken if you suffer from fever, sore throat and head ache.
- Antipyretics can be taken if you have a high grade fever.
- Decongestant nasal sprays can be used for a short period of time.
- Cough syrups are another common drug that can be taken.
- Take plenty of rest and drink fluids to maintain hydration.
- Gargle with warm saline water.
- Use heated humidified air.
- Saline nasal drops may help alleviate nasal congestion.
- The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications as cold and flu are caused by viruses.
- Anti emetics can be taken to reduce the nausea.
Prevention of cold
Some of the common suggestions to prevent a cold include:
- Wash your hands as the virus that causes cold and flu spreads through direct contact when an infected person sneezes and touches other objects without washing hands.
- Do not cover your coughs and sneezes with your hands.
- Scrub your stuff and keep the kitchen and bathroom counter tops clean.
- Used tissue papers should be discarded properly.
- Use hand sanitizers with alcohol as these are the best way to avoid any type of infections.
- Do not touch your face with infected hands and teach your children the importance of maintaining proper hygiene.
- Drink plenty of waters as it flushes your system and washes out the toxins.
- A German study states that people who steamed twice a week, was found to be less prone to cold and flu viruses.
- Aerobic exercises should be done regularly as this increases the body’s natural virus-killing cells.
- Eat foods containing phytochemicals like dark green,red and yellow vegetables and fruits.
- Eat yogurt that low in fat as it can stimulate the production of immune system substances that fight diseases.
- Stop smoking as smoke dries you nasal passages and can paralyze the cilia which is the thin hair line present within the mucus membranes in the nose and lungs.
- Cut down on the consumption of alcohol as it can suppress the immune system.
- If you can learn some of the relaxation techniques, then you can activate your immune system on demand.
- Avoid crowds during flu season as flu spreads easily wherever people congregate.
- Get an annual flu vaccination and the best time to be vaccinated is October to November.
Home Remedies for Cold and Flu
Some of the common home remedies include:
- Drink plenty of fluids and apple juice, dark grape juice, beet juice and clear soups are recommended.
- Honey when mixed with quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder and this is taken daily for three days.
- Drink ginger tea as this has antiviral properties.
- Two garlic supplements taken three times a day will help break up the mucus and relieves the chest congestion.
- Taking echinacea extracts is believed to prevent colds and flu.
- Sage tea can be used to gargle as it disinfects the mouth and this can relieve the inflammation in tour nose and throat.
- Salt water gargles can be taken to relieve the pain in the throat.
- Take a steamy shower as this moisturizes your nasal passages.
- Sleep with an extra pillow under your head as this helps in the drainage of nasal secretions.
- Drink hot liquids as this relieves the nasal congestion and helps prevent dehydration.
- Eat a balanced diet to improve your immunity to prevent such viral infections.