Cold and flu season is one of the most dreaded times of the year, especially if you have children in school, or work in close quarters with your colleagues without much air circulation. Unfortunately, science has yet to progress to a point where there's a cure for the common cold, but understanding its biology can help you avoid getting sick during cold season.
Identifying a Head Cold
While there may be different terminology for colds, they all come from some mutation of the common cold, but are named based on where the infection takes the most hold. You can identify the difference between a head cold and other common colds by its symptoms. If you are experiencing stuffy nose, sinus congestion, ear pressure, dizziness, sneezing, sore throat, and headaches, you most likely have a head cold. If you have a chest cold you'll likely feel more chest congestion, wheezing and coughing. Both types of colds can cause a low-grade fever, tiredness, weakness, and body aches. If your fever persists or you experience prolonged sinus issues or cough, it may be a sign of more serious illness. Be sure you check out any symptoms that don't resolve on their own after one or two weeks.
Head Cold Causes
A head cold develops when you are exposed to one of the common cold viruses, such as the coronaviruses or rhinoviruses. These viruses can infect you through particles in the air when someone sneezes or coughs near you, or through touching an infected person or object and then touching your mouth or nose.
Preventing a Head Cold
While there is no cure for these viruses, there are various ways that you can prevent yourself from contracting them. The most simple prevention is washing your hands with soap and running water. This method is so effective that an experiment at a military training center encouraged recruits to wash their hands at least 5 times a day. When compared to past cold season numbers, respiratory illnesses were down by 45 percent after the policy change. Another helpful cleaning measure is regularly disinfecting household surfaces.
Taking care of yourself is also essential as a healthy body more easily resists infection, such as eating well, regularly exercising, and getting adequate sleep to boost your immune function. Preventive naturopathic remedies like zinc, echinacea, garlic, ginseng, and vitamin C are also helpful.
Colds are referred to the Common Cold for a reason. It's incredibly common to develop one. There's often no need to get a diagnosis from a doctor, but there are some home remedies that can ease symptoms and help you feel better faster. Hot tea, especially ginger tea can be a great homemade medicine for days when you feel stuffed up. Warm drinks and breathing warm water vapor are great for breaking up congestion, both in the sinuses and chest. You can also achieve the same effect by breathing steam with a warm towel over your head, taking a hot shower or bath, or using an essential oil like eucalyptus in your water vapor. Spicy foods like peppers, ginger, and radishes can ease coughs. You can also get cough relief from syrups like honey teas. There are many recipes for these kinds of syrups that can help with most these symptoms.
Until scientists discover the cure for the common cold, head colds are a problem that you'll most likely run into each fall and winter cold season. However, taking the steps above can help lessen the severity and possibly even help you avoid getting sick in the future. If you do manage to pick up an infection, a visit to your doctor or naturopathic provider can help speed up the recovery process.