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What Causes the Common Cold?
We grow up hearing so many things about the common cold and we repeat the same things to our children that we were told to avoid them. Wash your hands, stay away from people that are sick, eat a healthy diet, etc. We are a much more mobile world than ever before and with that brings the ability to transmit all kinds of colds and flues in a much easier method. So what causes the common cold?
There are over two hundred types of viruses that are known to cause the common cold. Since viruses mutate or adapt to new circumstances and environments, the human body doesn’t have the ability to keep up with the development of antibodies to fight off the newer strains. The common cold is also known as a viral upper respiratory infection. Children in preschool and elementary school age have the most colds; usually from three to twelve per year. Many pediatricians will often advise to allow a child to be exposed to those that have colds prior to entering kindergarten or preschool; to assist the child in the development of antibodies to held fend off future infections.
The common cold is spread from direct hand to hand contact of the infected secretions. Typically this can be from someone touching their nasal area or blowing their nose and either touching someone else or an object. The cold virus has the ability to exist on external objects for a number of hours. These can include phones, books, doorknobs, toys, clothes, pens, computer keyboards, etc. Contact with the infected objects or people can then spread the cold virus.
Colds are more prevalent during the fall and winter months. There are a few reasons for this. Viruses thrive better in a drier environment and the fall and winter months offer the perfect low moisture growth. Additionally, the fall and winter months are times when people have a tendency to cluster together indoors. The close proximity offers easy transmission of the cold virus.
Treating the common cold is usually a combination of modalities. A physician may offer an antibiotic, but this will not actually destroy the virus. It will keep the infection from turning into a bacterial infection. Usually one has to get through the one to two week cold with common sense treatments. Lots of fluids, bed rest, healthy eating practices. Saline solutions can be used as nasal decongestants. Adding moisture to the air with physician recommended humidifiers will also help to eliminate the spread of the cold and offer relief of the symptoms. There are a number of over the counter products available; however, you need to examine the contents as there are limits on age as well as possible drug interactions. People with certain disorders, such as high blood pressure or heart conditions should only use over the counter products under the guidance of their physician.
Many people are looking to natural and homeopathic products to offer assistance in not only keeping the body from catching a cold, but symptom relief. The integrative method approach does not just address the question of what causes the common cold, but asks what we can do so that the body is in a condition to keep the cold virus at bay. Some people swear by the use of Echinacea for not only reducing the cold symptoms but creating a shorter duration of the cold itself. Others use garlic, zinc or honey as a natural cold combatant. Studies have not shown any significant decrease of colds when using alternatives, and there are age related warnings that are associated with these products as well. A homeopathic approach, such as the product Reme-Flu, offers a combination of herbs to encourage the body to be in a position to fight a cold. Reme-Flu has a two step product that offers symptom relief combined with a proprietary formula for faster cellular absorption.
Always consult with your primary physician before taking any medication, over the counter product, natural or homeopathic product.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Flu19 May 2010|