cold is a respiratory infection which is very contagious usually caused by a virus. It is characterised by a slight fever, streaming nasal passage, sore throat and aching joints.
What to look for
feeling at first and aching joints
head and chest congestion,
a runny nose.
that may occur only at night.
burning, watery eyes.
all over, vague achiness.
The common cold is caused by
infection from one of many different viruses. A virus attaches itself to the lining of
your nasal passages or throat. The body temperature then usually goes up within the next
It usually takes between one
and four days to get the symptoms of a cold once you have been infected and then the cold
itself can last for about 4 days to a week. It is important to be very careful during the
first three days that you have symptoms, as this is the time that you are likely to pass
on the cold to others.
Getting a cold is not
generally dangerous in normal healthy individuals. They usually go away in a week or so
without any special medicine.
The common cold can be
transmitted to others by droplets (when you sneeze) or be being physically close to other
people. The virus can be present on peoples skin or the items that they touch and is
highly contagious. Hundreds of viruses cause the common cold and as yet there is still no
cure for the cold.
If you believe you need to
see a doctor, he or she will make sure you do not have a bacterial infection by performing
Any type of treatment is
designed to enable your body to be able to fight the cold virus as well as make life more
bearable for you at this time. Over the counter medications, lozenges, cough medicines and
gargles are available - just ask our pharmacist for advice. Ensure you get adequate rest
as this is vital to your healing. You may need much more sleep than usual. Drinking water
is also important.
Call your doctor if you are
pregnant, breastfeeding or if the cold goes on for more than a couple of weeks and your
symptoms appear to be worsening however.
You could start these
treatments as soon as you see the first symptom.
A steam inhalation can reduce congestion, and if the temperature is quite hot, it will
also kill cold germs on contact. Choose eucalyptus
, wintergreen, or peppermint. Place a few
drops of the oil in a bowl and pour in boiling water.
Place a towel over your head,
lean over the bowl to create a steam tent, and breathe the vapours. (see our section on Aromatherapy for more
Herbal Therapies -
Taken at the first sign of symptoms, Echinacea
can reduce a cold's severity, often even preventing it from becoming a full infection.
Echinacea stimulates the immune response, enhancing resistance to all infection. It's
available in capsules at our pharmacy.
Goldenseal helps clear mucus from the throat. Horseradish capsules also helps rid the body of
You can also buy tea
infusions already specially formulated. . These blends can help the body cope with fever
and reduce aches and pains, congestion, and inflammation.
Garlic shortens a cold's duration and severity. Any
form seems to work: capsules or tablets, oil rubbed on the skin, or whole garlic roasted
or cooked in other foods. It is a potent and powerful healing herb.
Homoeopathy - Cold
symptoms often respond well to Homoeopathic remedies. Some examples are Bryonia, Arsenicum
album, and Allium cepa to name a few.
Avoid smoking as this can
aggravate a cold and delay your recovery time.
Start your attack
on the cold virus before winter even commences to get your body in tip top shape to be
able to fight any virus that comes along. Ensure you are eating plenty of fresh fruit and
vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, garlic, and onions.
Plenty of filtered water and
natural fruit and vegetable juices. Spicy foods are thought to help the drainage of mucus.
Try to avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy products, limit these foods and try to have
low fat versions. Also less eggs, starches and sugar. Good nutrition is essential for
resisting and recovering from a cold. Eat in a balanced way.
Take supplements as needed to
ensure you are receiving the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A, the vitamin B
complex (vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid), and vitamin C, as well as the minerals zinc
and copper. (Go to Vitamins Information)
Suck on cough lollies to
soothe your sore throat
Dab Vicks Vaporub in and
around your nostrils to breathe easier at night.
Drink plenty of water, at
least 10 glasses each day; this will replace the fluids lost through perspiration and your
runny nose and minimise congestion.
Humidify your room to keep
your nose and throat tissues moist.
Try to build a strong immune
system by eating well, avoiding cigarettes and drinking plenty of filtered water. Also try
to avoid areas where there are likely to be people with colds. Cold viruses often survive
for hours in the open, on doorknobs, money, and other surfaces, so wash your hands
frequently. Get plenty of exercise as well to keep your immune system healthy.
Think of others when you have
a cold and always cover your mouth when you sneeze.
When to seek further
your newborn (two months or
younger) has cold symptoms.
if you are wheezing or
having extreme difficulty breathing.
your throat hurts and you
have a very high temperature, or your symptoms seem to be getting worse.
your temperature is very
high. You may have pneumonia.
Seek medical care immediately.