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Healthy Living: 5 Remedies for the Common Cold

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Healthy Living—Last week I wrote about steps to take to avoid catching the common cold or flu. This week I wanted to talk about steps that can be taken if you part of the nearly half of Americans who will catch a cold this year. Hey, it happens! But there are steps to help cut the length of the cold and minimize your symptoms.

Keeping your immune system healthy is imperative to avoiding an excessive number of colds and/or the flu in any given year. If you find yourself catching more than one or two colds a year or it lasts longer than the normal three or four days, this could imply that your immune system is in a weakened state. This could be due to a poor diet, stress, or just not taking good care of you due to outside circumstances. Especially as busy parents, sometimes we don’t have much leftover for ourselves.

Many of the symptoms that we experience with a cold are our body’s defense mechanisms fighting off the cold. For example, though an elevated fever is not comfortable, it is believed that a fever should not be suppressed during an infection unless it is greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, if you are treating your cold with natural remedies, it might be more uncomfortable, but the illness is usually shorter-lived due to the immune-enhancing effects of natural compounds (Source: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine).

5 Remedies to Speed Your Recovery of the Common Cold

Only you can decide the level of discomfort you are willing to deal with! Here are some remedies recommended by Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. in their bestselling book: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine:

  1. As in preventing a cold, the importance of sleep and rest during a cold is a must.
  2. Drink plenty of liquids such as water, diluted vegetable juices, soups and herb teas.
  3. Again, sugar consumption only feeds the cold. So try to limit your simple sugar consumption (which includes fruit sugars) to less than 50 grams per day.
  4. Vitamin C has been found to decreases the duration of a cold by nearly a full day – which is roughly twenty-one percent - if taken at a dosage of 1 to 6 grams per day. According to M.Murray and J. Pizzorno, they state “that the argument in the medical literature that vitamin C has no effect on the common cold seems to be based in large part on a faulty review written two decades ago.” My take on this argument - vitamin C taken in these dosages is not harmful, and why not see if it does in fact help you cut the amount of time you have the cold! (Source: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine).
  5. Most of us have heard about using Echinacea for a cold. It is interesting to note that in 1994, German physicians and pharmacists prescribed Echinacea more than 2.5 million times for the common cold. The Germans have long toted the benefits of natural herbs in treating various ailments. There have been over three hundred scientific investigations on the benefits of Echinacea on the immune system. I would go to your local health food store and ask the vitamin specialists what brand they would recommend.

I sure hope that you will be able to avoid the common cold this season, but if not, the former recommendations should help you cut the length of time you have a cold. Here’s to a fun-filled holiday season!

How do you remedy the common cold? What steps do you take to keep your family free from the common cold during the chilly months?

References:

  • Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Revised 2nd Edition. Three Rivers Press.

Melissa Northway, M.S. in Human Nutrition, is a mom, writer, and her company, Polka Dots Publishing, produces children’s picture book apps. Her first storybook app, Penelope the Purple Pirate, has been chosen as a Top 10 Educational iPad App. In celebration of Children’s Picture Book Month, Penelope is having a four (4) book giveaway going on until November 13th. You can read more about the giveaway here: http://melissanorthway.com/news.html. And follow Penelope the Purple Pirate on Facebook to learn about more giveaways coming up for the holidays! You can reach her at: @melissanorthway and mcube@sbcglobal.net.

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