Q: I suffer from frequent colds. Please help.
A: The good old idea of drinking fluids and inhaling steam, or mist, from a vaporiser is useful — they keep secretions loose and easier to expel. It may, however, be remembered that many of the anti-viral drugs, in use for other ailments, are not quite effective against cold. Several popular over-the-counter [OTC] medications are being used to keep a cold at bay, or help reduce its intensity. Their value is limited — although they lessen symptoms to an extent. They may also not be safe in some individuals. Besides, you can also apply a range of drugs to relieve cold symptoms: nasal drops, or decongestants, to help clear nasal passages, anti-histamines to help dry a running nose, or cough syrups to alleviate the symptoms. Some of the anti-histamines could cause drowsiness; they may also not be very safe for use in old people.
Some people have a habit of popping an aspirin to beat a cold. Caution: never use aspirin in children. It can lead to an increased risk of Reye’s syndrome — a condition that develops after an acute febrile illness, usually influenza or varicella [chicken-pox] infection. Reye’s syndrome is characterised by recurrent vomiting beginning within a week after onset of the infection, and from which the child either recovers within a day or two, or lapses into a coma with high blood pressure.
You may take vitamin C [1,000 mg/day], and the herb, echinacea, with good effect. Vitamin C can relieve and reduce the intensity of a cold by almost 21 per cent. Recent studies also show that regular exercise can prevent a cold, and also ease its symptoms.
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