There are many reasons why we get sick and even more mythical remedies. You may have believed for years that zinc and Echinacea were the holistic secret to curing the common cold or that Grandmother’s famous chicken soup was another mythical approach to the cure. Comfort foods and other masking remedies have been around for centuries. Some of these ideas that are sworn to cure the common cold are only helping with the symptoms, which can be enough for most of us when we’re sick.
Scientists say there are more than 200 strains of viruses in the common cold. This makes it extremely difficult for doctors and researchers to find a cure as compared to the flu that has an average of three strains, allowing for a simpler process in developing a yearly flu vaccine. It is hard to believe with all the scientific discoveries we still have not found a cure or vaccine for the common cold. What is more difficult to believe is how stressed we become when we get sick, spending money on crazy remedies that don’t work, when all you can really do is accept the diagnosis and rest.
Understanding the common cold is not bacterial will help you realize that anti bacterial soaps and other anti bacterial devices have no effect, as the common cold is a virus. On the other hand, washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap kills bacteria. More often than not people don’t wash their hands and begin touching doors, desk and books, leading to the spread of viruses, making the cold more likely of being passed on to someone else. One way to avoid this scenario and avoid catching viruses is to lock yourself up in your room. This is usually not a viable option for most of us, so use common sense. Start by continuously wash your hands throughout the day and keep your hands away from your face. Scientists observed the average person touches their face 16 times in one hour. Additionally, oils from your hands can clog your pores causing minor breakouts on your face. Don’t touch your face.
A scratchy throat is usually an early sign to catching a cold, a condition that typically will last for several days. Knowing these early cold symptoms can help you in preparing the mind to accept and allow your body to go through the process. Many of those mystical remedies can help you with the symptoms (not the virus) – so if you like chicken soup or orange zinc lozenges, remember they don’t cure but they might make you feel better. If you get sick, I can’t write you a note but if you do get sick your colleagues and your professors will be grateful if you stay home until you feel better.
To learn more about the common cold read Achoo by Jennifer Ackerman. Her book is entertaining with some of the most outrageous cures to the common cold; remedies people have tried throughout history. Additionally, the book is full of facts explaining scientific backed research.
Knowing what I know now – getting sick is more of an acceptance. It is like having a dog bite into my leg; I just go with it and let myself be dragged into the yard and chewed on until Fido gets bored. My point is I don’t try to fight a cold, I just accept the fact I am sick; then I wrap myself in blankets, watch some good/bad movies or catch up on some reading – all while sipping green tea.