Fighting off the Common Cold
We are well into the Winter months and many Australians have already succumbed to the viral infections that cause the common cold, or upper respiratory tract infections. In fact, this is the most common illness that effects both children and adults.
There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Symptoms can include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache, body aches and occasionally fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
Cold weather does not cause the common cold!
While a cold can strike at any time, it is definitely more common in Winter’¦.but not simply because the weather is cold. The reason has more to do with spending more time indoors, being in closer contact with other people and generally being less active physically.
Germ Theory vs Terrain Theory
The germ theory states that some diseases are caused by micro-organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and funguses. This idea gained traction in the 1850’s when John Snow traced the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London. At this time diseases such as cholera and the bubonic plague were thought to be caused by a noxious form of ‘bad air’, known as the miasma theory.
Snow noticed that while many buildings in areas of Soho had high concentration of cholera, some buildings had no cases at all. Such discrepancy could not be explained by ‘bad air’ and Snow was able to show that the source could be traced to a public water pump on Broad Street. Louis Pasteur further strengthened the germ theory with his work on fermentation and the growth of micro-organisms in air exposed nutrient broths.
The terrain theory was proposed by Antoine Bechamp, stating that it was a weakened tissue that created the ‘terrain’ for infection, not purely exposure alone. In particular his thought was that an acidic body (low pH) was more ideal for micro-organism production. Although the terrain theory never gained the traction seen with the germ theory, most practitioners recognise that healthy people with strong constitutions tend to get fewer colds and recover more quickly from them.
Zinc can reduce common cold symptoms
An Australian study published in the journal BMC Family Practice in February 2015, has shown that high doses of Zinc lozenges cut many symptoms of the common cold.
Researchers found that the duration of nasal discharge was shortened by 34%, cough by 46% and muscle ache by 54% when patients took 80’”92mg/day of zinc acetate in lozenge form. Echoing previous research, the use of zinc acetate lozenges cut the cold duration by 42% overall.
Following the publication of this study we now stock Bioceuticals ‘Zinc Sustain’ and recommend x3 tab/day (90mg) to be taken for the duration of cold symptoms.
Other natural remedies
1. Remember the common cold and the flu (influenza) are caused by viruses, not bacteria, so antibiotics will not help. The widespread use of antibiotics has led to increased cases of antibiotic resistant strains, so it is best to avoid antibiotics unless necessary.
2. Take probiotics – these improve immunity by increasing the good bacteria in the body and are especially important if you are taking antibiotics.
3. Vit D – this has been shown to influence immune function and is typically reduced over the winter months when sun exposure is less.
4. Keep moving – we are more sedentary over Winter. Keep up your regular exercise.
5. Eat well – this is a great time of the year for nutritious soups. Keep your protein levels up and avoid heavy carbohydrate meals.
6. Rest – while our busy lives often require us to ‘soldier on’, nothing helps recovery more than a few early nights and time away from stressful situations.
7. If your body’s not moving well or feeling in balance, be sure to get your chiropractic adjustment. While it’s not a cure for the common cold, it will often help you feel better and get you back on track.