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Prevent and Cure the Common Cold
The Comprehensive Guide


Introduction

There are over 200 different cold viruses that cause the "cold". Over half of them are rhinoviruses. It is an acute (short-term) viral infection involving the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, sinuses and bronchial tubes).

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Facts and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers


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Natural Home Remedies to Prevent and Cure the Common Cold

See Common Cold Remedies for a detailed discussion and dose to use.
Natural Remedy What experts say about them
Vitamin C
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Zinc
(Lozenges and
nasal sprays)
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Echinacea
(Echinacea purpurea)
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Ginseng leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Garlic leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Andrographis
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Propolis leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal  
Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
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Sage leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Slippery Elm
(Ulmus rubra)
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Elderberry leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal   
Cordyceps leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Goldenseal leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Oil of Oregano leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Boneset
(Eupatorium perfoliatum)
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Peppermint Oil Helpful 
Eucalyptus Oil Helpful 
Ginger
(Zingiber officinale)
Helpful 
Probiotics Helpful 
Catnip Helpful 
Aniseed
Blackberry
Blueberry
Borage seed oil
Forsythia
Honeysuckle
Stinging nettle
Yarrow
Helpful

 
See Common Cold Remedies for a detailed discussion and dose to use.


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Facts and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Facts on the common cold

The cold virus is highly contagious and easily spreads via the air. You can "catch" the virus by breathing in contaminated air (which contains the virus), touching a contaminated object or a handshake. The virus enters your body via your eyes (tear ducts), nose or mouth. It then attaches to the mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses.

Antibiotics will do nothing to help cure or treat the common cold; antibiotics kill bacteria only, not viruses. Most non-prescription over-the-counter "cold remedies" are designed to lessen the cold symptoms. They do not help prevent or cure the common cold.

Although anyone can catch the cold, young children (preschool and elementary school students) are more likely to get it. Indeed, as you get older and have more exposure to the cold virus, you actually develop some immunity to it.

Studies have shown that not everyone who is exposed to this virus will get symptoms of the cold or even catch the cold.

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What are some common symptoms of the common cold?

The symptoms of the common cold can vary quite a bit from one person to another. Usually these symptoms develop gradually (unlike the flu which can develop suddenly and severely).

Most of these symptoms will disappear in 5-7 days although some symptoms, like the cough, can persist for up to 14 days. Most people make a complete recovery although some people may develop complications such as sinus infection, pneumonia, strep throat and bronchitis.

The following is a list of common symptoms people with the cold may experience:
  • tickle in the throat (or scratchy throat)
  • body ache
  • headache
  • chills (mild)
  • blocked eustachian (ear) tubes
  • fatigue/weakness
  • cough
  • nasal congestion (stuff nose)
  • nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • mild fever
  • sneezing
  • watery eyes
  • sore throat
  • loss of appetite (mild)
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Common cold vs. the flu (Influenza) - What are the differences?

The flu (influenza), also caused by a virus, can be a serious health condition as it can cause pneumonia, bronchitis and other lung-related conditions.

Common Cold Symptoms Flu (Influenza) Symptoms
Weakness, sore throat, congestion and body aches/discomfort Weakness, sore throat, congestion and body aches
Symptoms develop more gradually and are not as severe Sudden onset of severe aching, pain and headaches
Usually there's no fever or that it's mild High fever and chills
Mild fatigue; you can still "function", although not as efficiently
Severe fatigue and discomfort requiring bed rest.

If you have flu symptoms, you should follow up with your family doctor, especially if you have a history of problems with your respiratory system.

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How long do you remain contagious once you have it? What is the incubation period?

Once you catch a cold and show symptoms, you will be contagious for the next two to four days.

Symptoms can appear as fast as within 10 hours of catching the virus. The incubation period (when you don't have any symptoms) typically ranges from two to five days. In some individuals, the incubation period could be very long; they carry the virus but don't display any symptoms of the common cold.

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What else can I do to prevent catching or to get relief from the common cold?

  • Wash hands frequently and keep it away from eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Rest and get enough sleep.

  • Exercise regularly to maintain total body and immune health.

  • Control and reduce stress.

  • Maintain a healthy diet consisting of more fruits and vegetables.
  • Chicken soap containing ginger, scallions and rice noodles is helpful in fighting the common cold.

  • Meditation may be helpful to regulate the immune system and reduce stress.

  • Salt water gargle helps with sore throat.

  • Use a nasal lubricant gel to keep the nose moist and prevent irritation from frequent nose blowing.
  • Humidify the air with a humidifier to make your sore throat more comfortable.

  • Sneezing easily spreads the virus. Cover your mouth and nose and sneeze into a tissue or onto your shirt sleeve. Wash your hands right after. Sneeze towards to floor to avoid making the virus airborne.

  • Don't share cups, knives, forks and spoons in the kitchen.

  • Use separate face towels and hand towels.

  • Stay away from those with a cold when possible. Indeed, crowded living and working areas increases the chance that you might catch a cold.

  • Disinfect your bathroom especially if someone in the house has a cold.

  • Sleep in a separate room if possible to avoid transmitting the virus to your spouse or children.

  • Wear a face mask (N95 type) if practical to avoid spreading the virus.

  • Smoking increases the likelihood of getting a cold as it weakens the immune system.
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What diet should I be on if I want to prevent or cure the common cold?

A healthy diet goes a long way to allow your body to fight off the common cold virus.

Foods you should eat more of...
  • Water, lemon or herbal tea - prevents dehydration
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Light meals are recommended
  • Increase garlic, ginger and onions intake
Foods to avoid...
  • Sugar - It negatively affects the immune system
  • Avoid fruit juice as they are high in sugar content. You may dilute the juice first to reduce the amount of sugar you take in.
  • Diary products - Milk and cheese may worsen congestion as they seem to promote mucus production.
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Does getting wet or exposure of your body to cold weather cause the cold?

That's a myth that's still floating around today. To get the cold, you need to get the cold virus. No cold virus, no colds. It's that simple.

However, exposing your body to cold or damp weather does weaken your immune system a bit. This may increase the chance that you might catch the cold virus if it's floating around somewhere.

Ultimately, a healthy fully functioning immune system is the best way to prevent the common cold.



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Related Topics and Resources


Review of Immune System Boosters - Remedies that Work

Vitamin C - What else does it work for other than the cold?





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References
Revised: November 21, 2010

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