Tips to keep the common cold at bay
Almost everyone has had one, and it always seems to come at the most inopportune time. The common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects both children and adults multiple times each year and is the number one reason for missing work or school.
A recent article in The Huffington Post features five tips to help keep colds at bay:
- Keep your hands clean
- Sleep on a schedule
- Boost your Vitamin D
- Protect your immunity with a flu shot
Dr. Gina Schueneman, a family medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, agrees that washing your hands and getting enough sleep are especially important to staying healthy.
“Other suggestions on how to avoid a cold or how to shorten the duration of a cold include using nasal saline rinses at the first sign of the cold and increasing your fluid intake,” says Dr. Schueneman. “Zinc may also help, but only in doses greater than 75 milligrams daily. I don’t recommend nasal Zinc, though, as there have been some reports of loss of smell.”
Dr. Schueneman also notes that Vitamin C, Echinacea and probiotics are sometimes used to fight colds, but the clinical significance of these methods is uncertain.
So how do you know if your cold requires a trip to the doctor?
“When it comes to colds, people should see a doctor if it lasts longer than two weeks,” says Dr. Schueneman.
Also, be sure to stay on the lookout for signs of a more serious illness.
“The influenza virus also causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches, stuffy and/or runny nose and sore throat,” says Dr. Schueneman. “And if someone has severe neck pain or stiffness, they should see a physician immediately, as there may be concern for meningitis.”
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