Thursday, April 9, 2009


At one time or other, everyone of us succumbs to the common

cold. The bravest, the strongest, the sweetest, the smartest -

our virtues matter not to these viruses as they set about reduc_

ing us to coughing, sneezing sneezing shadows of our former

selves. Worse yet, there's no cure. Antiboitics, champs at knock_

ing out bacterial infection, are down for the count against cold

viruses. So we sniffle on bravely, maybe take a cold pill or two,

and hope the symptoms will disappear in the customary week or so.

Some home remedies as suggested by doctors may help us overcome

cold more quickly. Vitamin C works in the body as a scavenger

picking up all sorts of trash - including virus trash. It can

shorten the length of a cold from seven days to two or three

days. Vitamin C may also cut back on coughing, sneezing and other

symptoms. Juices of orange, grape fruit and cranberry are rich

sources of vitamin C. Sucking on Zinc lozenges can cut colds

short. The downside is that Zinc has an unpleasant taste. There

are however lozenges in the market that contain honey and/or

citrus that are a lot easier to swallow. But do nottake more than

reccommended by the doctors it can be toxic in large doses. Extra

rest enables you to put all your energy into getting well. Take

a day off or two from work if you are really bad. Mild exercises

improves your circulation, helping your immune system circulate

infection fighting antibodies. Try taking a brisk half an hour

walk. For diet eat fewer fatty foods, meat and milk products and

eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of

water, juice, tea and mostly clear liquids. This will replace

important fluids lost during a cold and help flush out impurities

that may be preying on your system. Smoking aggravates a throat

that may already feel irritated from cold. So, try to abstain

yourself at least for a while. Relieve an irritated throat by

gargling morning, noon and night whenever it hurts the most. Fill

a glass of warm water and mix in 1 teaspoon of salt. Take a hot
water bath or steam your nose by inhaling steam from boiling

water mixed with menthol. Or try garlic tea. This familiar herb

has an antibiotic effect. It can actually kill germs and clear up

the cold symptoms more rapidly. Try to avoid spreading cold by

not sharing your food with others. Do not step outside with a wet

head. If it persists with a fever about 103 degrees fah. see your

doctor. Also visit him if you have extreme pain such as ear ache,

swollen tonsils, sinus pain or chest pain, extremely difficulty

in swallowing, excessive large amounts of sputum or sputum that

is greenish or bloody, shortness of breath or excessive of appe_

tite. Lemonated water will also provide relief. Juices of ginger,

orange, carrot, raddish, garlic can be taken. Crush some tulsi

leaves and give one or two drops of the juice to babies 2 to 3

times a day. To relieve congestion dissolve one tbsp. of crushed

camphor in 2 tsp. of hot coconut oil. Store in an air tight

container and rub it on the chest and throat of the child.

For dry cough, take a solution containing 1 part of honey, 1 part

of lime juice and 1 part of rum or gin ( leave alcohol out for

children and those who have difficulty in breathing ). Take 1

tsp. of this solution every 2 to 3 hours. For sinusitis, soak a

piece of turmeric in castor oil, burn it and inhale the smoke. Or

inhale the smoke by burning a few pepper corns. Or roast garlic

in hot ash and take it three times a day. For cold, boil a hand_

ful of eucalyptus leaves in two glasses of water till the quanti_

ty is reduced to half. Strain the water, add sugar and drink 3

times a day. This remedy is for adults. Most coughs are due to

the air passages becoming inflammed by infection and forming more

mucus than the usual. Sometimes a throat infection will irritate

the cough reflex without causing much increase in mucus and dry

barking coughs maybe troublesome. Coughing may have other causes

- inhalation of dust or chemicals, pressure on the air passages

from a tumour, accumulation of fluid in lungs. Sometimes coughing

maybe the only symptom of asthma. Mostly coughs are doing a

useful job, clearing the lungs of phlegm and that any treatment

should be aimed at the cause of the cough rather than the cough

itself. Remedies fall into 2 categories : Expectorants which make

the mucus in the chest more liquid and therefore easier to cough

and suppresants which damp down the cough reflex. If you are

coughing up thick phlegm, take an expectorant. A dry, irritating

cough may warrant a suppressant. What makes more sense is to

take a cough medicine that contains a drug of both kinds.

Combine a sore throat with a rasping cough and you know the

meaning of torture. Sore throats are early warning signs of cold

or flu. But they can exist independently as the result of some

other viral or bacterial infection. If you have sore throat

caused by a viral infection, antibiotics won't help. But medicat_

ed lozenges may do some good. Zinc lozenges as stated above will

also help. Several actors mentioned the time honoured salvo of

lemon juice and honey in hot water or tea sipped through the day.

Some even inhale steam for about ten mins. a day. If you have the

time, try it 2 to 3 times a day. One more idea is to gargle with

whisky in a large glass of warm water. If part of the reason you

are breathing through your mouth is that your nose is clogged,

then open it with an decongestant nasal spray. Try to limit its

use for a day or two, because it can become addictive. If you
live near the sea, then go ahead and inhale the sea breeze. When

you inhale the mist, the saline air moistens your nose and drips

down the back of your throat to help increase humidity there.

Unlike the nasal decongestants, the saline way is not addictive.

Try to avoid milky drinks which may produce more mucus, making

you cough and further irritating the tissues. Caffeine containing

beverages have a counter productive diuretic effect. Garlic is

one of the best natural antibiotics and antiseptics. Vitamin C

helps to build up tissues to fight germs that are responsible for

sore throat. Believe it or not, your toothbrush may be perpetuat_

ing or even causing the sore throat. Bacteria collects on the

bristles and any injuryto the gums during brushing injects these

germs into your system. From the preventive standpoint, replace

the toothbrush every month and also store it outside the moist,

bacteria prone bathroom. If you think it's expensive then think

again about the cost of just one trip to the doctor's clinic.

Another cause of sore throat in the morning - besides sleeping

with your mouth open - is a backp of stomach acids into your

throat during night. These acids are extremely irritating to the

sensitive throat tissues. Avoid the problem by tilting the bed_

frame or add a pillow so that the head is 4 to 6 inches higher

than the foot. But don't simply add pillow, they can cause you to

bend in the middle, increasing pressure on the oesophagus and

making the problem worse. As an extra precaution, do not eat or

drink for an hour or two before retiring. See the doctor if you

experience the following : Severe, prolonged or recurrent sore

throats, difficulty in breathing, swallowing or opening of mouth,

joint pains, earache or lump in the neck, rash, fever above 101

degrees fahrenheit, hoarseness lasting two weeks or longer, blood

in saliva or phlegm. If you take the necessary precautions you

will do better in the long run to stay well.

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