A lot of people refer to their cold as flu – more often than not they simply have a bad cold. In fact most of us get at least one cold a year and just occasionally we fall ill with flu.
Even symptoms such as a sore throat, runny or blocked nose and headaches are unlikely by themselves to mean that you have flu – you may just have a nasty cold and should rest if possible. However, if you are running a temperature, suffering from more headaches or are experiencing bodily aches and pains, you may well have flu and should rest, at least until the fever has passed.
A cold – also called infectious rhinitis – is a viral infection of the nose and throat. Doctors call it a “self-limiting” condition, which means that it only lasts so long and goes away on its own.
In most people, colds are relatively harmless, but they have important social and economic impact. It is estimated that 40% of time lost from work and 30% of school absences are due to the common cold. Cold symptoms normally improve within 1 week, although some may last as long as 2 weeks.
There are over 200 different viruses responsible for causing colds. The most common type are the rhinoviruses, which cause about 40% of colds in adults. Colds occur most often from fall to early spring, when people tend to stay indoors – facilitating easy spread of these viruses.
- dry, scratchy, or sore throat
- runny nose or congestion
- sneezing triggered by nasal congestion
- headache as a result of congestion
- slight fever and chills
- coughing, usually dry at first but later can be accompanied by sputum and phlegm
- feeling tired
You can easily prevent colds if you:
- Strengthen your immune system by eating well and exercising regularly. Work to reduce stress and get adequate sleep.
- Avoid smoking and smoke-filled spaces.
- Avoid closed, crowded places.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid hand/face contact.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold. To feel better, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. In the meantime, over-the-counter medications can help ease your symptoms.
There is a natural remedy that will help you boost your immunity and beat colds. That is a concoction of fresh lemon, ginger, and honey.
2 lemons (thoroughly cleaned)
2 piece of fresh ginger (about the size of your pointer and middle finger)
12 oz mason jar
Clean and slice two lemons. Break off 3 to 4 stems of ginger, cut off the skin then cut up the ginger. Fill the mason jar with the lemon and ginger slices, alternating and intermixing the two. Pour raw honey over the entire. Take a knife and chop at the mixture within the jar to get the juices of the lemon flowing. Add the mason jar lid and refrigerate for 2-3 days before use.
When you are in need of some soothing tea, scoop 2-3 tablespoons into a mug full of hot water—be sure to scoop whole pieces of ginger and lemon. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes and sip away.