Coronavirus and the Common Cold

The Common Cold

An Introduction to Preventing and Treating the Common Cold:
+What is it?
+Is there any hope for a cure?
+More common cold related sites

What is it?

The common cold is a virally related syndrome and has been associated with over 100 different viruses, including Human Coronavirus and Rhinovirus. Common symptoms include throat discomfort , followed by sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing and decreased energy level. Fever is uncommon with colds, except in young children.

How can I prevent it? (Also known as top 10 ways to avoid a cold)

+ 10. Stress Reduction. Strong links have been drawn between stress and immune system functioning. The more stressed you are, the weaker your immune system will be and the more likely you are to develop symptoms.

+ 9. Make sure your environment is not too dry. Keep the air moist enough so that your nasal passages do not dry out. Consider using a humidifier.

+ 8. Be careful with items such as money, pens, and keypads in public places. They are all potential sources of infection.

+ 7. Take precaution when flying on commercial airlines. The recirculation systems aboard planes has been implicated in the spread of airborne infectious diseases

+ 6. Garlic nose drops have been known to kill the viruses that cause colds (if you don't mind the smell of garlic!). In his book The Healing Power of Garlic Paul Bergner suggests crushing some garlic to obtain juice, adding ten parts water and mixing well.

+ 5. If someone in your household is sick, let them use separate items, such as handtowels, from those who are healthy.

+ 4. Keep your feet warm. Cold feet cannot cause a viral infection, but they can undermine your defenses thereby opening the door to them.

+ 3. Keep your nasal passages clear and breathe through your nose. Your nose is able to filter out airborne dust and germs.

+ 2. Alternative medications. Recent studies have shown that alternative medications such as zinc and Echinacea may help prevent the onset of colds.

+ 1. Never put your hands in your eyes or to your nose without washing them first

Managing the common cold - Treating symptoms

Although research is being done on possible ways to cure the common cold, most colds are self limiting and will go away within a few days. While you are sick, however, there are many things you can do and over the counter remedies you can use to relieve your cold symptoms:

Standard over the counter remedies:

+ Analgesics/Antipyretics such acetominophen (tylenol) aspirin, ibuprophen (advil), and naproxyn sodium (naprosyn) are useful for reducing the pain and fever associated with the common cold.
+ Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (Sudafed) decrease nasal secretions and congestion.
+ Expectorants such as guaifenesin (Robitussin) thin respiratory secretions, make coughs more productive and decrease overall coughing.
+ Antitussives are opiate derivatives, such as codeine and dextromethorphan hydrobromide (Robitussin DM) that are useful in suppressing coughing by depressing the nervous system.
+ Antihistimines such as chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton), brompheniramine maleate (Dimetapp), Dipheniramine hydrochloride (Benadryl), and triprolidine hydrochloride (Actifed) have been used to treat symptoms, but their efficacy in treating the common cold has been questioned since their primary mode of action is on the histamine allergic response of the immune system.

Other treatments:

+Antivirals to Human Rhinovirus have been recently developed for the treatment of the common cold. The mechanisms of these drugs include antiviral binding to rhinovirus, blocking the protein canyon binding site and using monoclonal antibodies to the antireceptor, ICAM-1.
+Hormonal methods such as Bradykinin inhibitors are also being explored.

Alternative Medications:

While traditional medicines have been shown to relieve the symptoms of the common cold, there is significant evidence that several alternative treatments can actually prevent the onset or shorten the duration of common cold symptoms. Most alternative medicines appear to have no serious side effects, especially if regularly marketed products are used. Here are some treatments that have been found to be somewhat effective:

+Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold. Zinc deficiency has been linked to a variety of immune system abnormalities.
+Echinacea is a daisy like purple wild flower found across the United States. It has been shown to stimulate white blood cell activity.
+Garlic has also been shown to have prophylactic activity (see prevention section)
+While antioxidants such as vitamin C have been used for treating and preventing colds, it is unlikely that taking large doses will have significant effects on the majority of the Western population, which is without vitamin deficiency.
+Menthol and Eucalyptus oils can provide relief from nasal congestion by causing a cool sensation in the nose. Local anaesthetic action also helps relieves sore throat and coughs. These oils also have antimicrobial activity that may help to inhibit infection of the upper respiratory tract.

Is there any hope for the eradication of the common cold?

Although there has been much research done on the common cold and potential cures, the prospects of eradicating the common cold all together are slim.

While have been developed the practicality of immunizing large numbers of individuals against the common cold is minimal, primarily because so many different viruses have been implicated in causing colds. Additionally, developing an effective vaccine is difficult because upper respiratory infections are superficial, meaning the virus is not found in the blood, the site of the immune response.

Furthermore, most colds are self limiting. Left alone, most will disappear within a few days and cause little harm to the host. Temporary symptomatic relief, therefore, is often the most practical treatment.

For more information on the common cold, check out these sites:

+ Beating Colds and Flus - This page has a wealth of information on prevention and treatment of the common cold.
+ The Common Cold - a brochure with the basics
+ Common Cold - from a medical point of view
+ The Common Cold Centre - a very comprehensive site about issues related to the common cold. also has information on clinical trials and how YOU can get involved.
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