This page documents what I've found to work for me in fighting the common cold. It's an accumulation of over 50 years of my own personal experience on what works and what doesn't work. The best part is that it doesn't cost much but it does require vigilance on your part. Lastly, I am not a doctor and don't hold any medical qualifications - I just have a lot of practical experience and a scientific mind.

Warfare!

First, you must take the attitude that you are in a war. A war with invading bacteria, germs or viruses that are attacking you. You must be vigilant about what is happening to your body if you are to win. The good news is that we know a lot about the common cold and we know a lot about our bodies.

The Environment

Bacteria, germs and viruses can only live in our bodies within a specific environment and that knowledge is our weapon. There is only a certain range of temperature (our normal body temperature) and the mucous of our throat and nasal passages that they can live in. With that knowledge we can form a plan of attack!

First Step: Don't Get Sick!

The first step is don't get sick in the first place! We know that all colds are transmitted either through the air or through physical contact. There's some basic steps that we can take that will aid in preventing us from getting sick:

Avoid sick people - If your friends or family are sick, stay away from them! And if you are sick, stay away from your friends and family.

Wash your hands! - If you are around sick people, wash your hands. This has been proven over the past couple of centuries that good hygiene will aid in stopping the spread of germs. IMPORTANT - always wash your hands before eating!

We eat in a fast food society where we eat with our hands. Think about how many door handles, hand rails, trays, chairs, light switches, debit machine buttons, etc.. that you touch in a day that other people touch. Then we touch our food and eat that food! Scary stuff!

Stop Touching Your Face! - I came across a study that found that during an average day, we touch our faces over a thousand times! The main entry way into our body is through our nose and mouth. We have to learn to stop touching our faces especially our nose and mouth!

Be Vigilant!

Become aware of the symptoms when you are first getting sick. You don't become "sick" in the blink of an eye. You gradually get sick. You are the only one who knows your body - get in touch (but don't touch your face LOL) with the early symptoms!

When I first start to get sick, the warning signs are a tickle in the back of my throat, just behind my uvula - that's the little bit of seemingly useless flesh that hangs down from the back of your throat. It has the job of blocking the opening to the the nasal passages when you swallow. So when you breath through your nose, it opens the passageway and when you swallow, it closes. By the way, uvula in Latin means "little grape".

Once you realize you are getting sick, then the battle begins. The earlier on you can detect the symptoms, the easier it is to get better. But you must be VIGILANT! That means that as soon as you possibly can, drop whatever you are doing and start fighting even if it is 1:00 am in the morning. The cold that is attacking doesn't care what time it is. It is counting on you to do nothing - that is it's main plan on attack. The longer you delay, the more stronger it becomes because it is quietly multiplying and growing in your throat and nose. Counter attack using ALL of the following methods:

Counter Attacking

Hot Drinks - I've found that drinking cold drinks to sooth my throat makes it worse. Hot drinks like hot chocolate (with a small scoop of vanila ice cream on top), hot coffees, hot apple cider and hot teas all help by increasing the temperature in your throat and temporarily making the environment hotter than the cold germs can live in. Sip slowly and often through the day. Your throat may feel raw but that's the common cold that's making it raw.

Antiseptic Mouthwash - Rinse your mouth and deep gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash. You have to gargle so that the very back of your throat gets a good swish of the stuff. Antiseptic mouthwash will kill most of the germs and bacteria in your throat so don't use just plain old mouthwash that won't work, it will that makes your breath smell sweet.

IMPORTANT: only use the antiseptic mouthwash once a day! It will kill the good bacteria in your throat that your body produces to fight the cold. If you use it more than once a day, you will damage your body's natural defense mechanism and the cold could get worse and move into your voicebox, your bronchial tubes and your lungs!

Gargle with Salty Water - For the rest of the day, you can gargle to your heart's content using warm salty water. Get a cup of water, add a teaspoon of salt so that it tastes salty but not enough to make you gag and then deep gargle away. It works great! I haven't had any problems gargling all day long.

Hot Soups - Hot foods are important for you, hot soups even better as they raise the temperature of your throat and even better steam your nasal passages. Stay away from cold foods, in my experience cold foods work against you and work for the cold. Don't be a traitor and sabotage the war!

Nasal Saline Sprays - This one is the tough one, use a nasal spray while inhaling through your nose until you feel the saline solution (salty water) running down the back of your throat. Do both nostrils and repeat. At first, it is unpleasant but you get used to it.

Sometimes, your nasal passageways may be blocked. You can use an antihistamine to clear your sinuses then hit the sinuses with the nose spray. It's like a double whammy hitting the cold.

I use a nose spray bottle like the one pictured here and mix up my own salt water solution. You can purchase "off the shelf" saline nose spray solutions if you can't find the the nasal spray bottle pictured here. Mine has lasted over a decade. Make sure that you rinse the tip off after using.

Honey soothes a sore throat! - A teaspoon of honey coats the throat and soothes your sore throat but did you know it helps fight the cold germs? It's used to be an old wive's tale but researchers have verified that a spoonful of honey helps battle a sore throat. So go for the honey!

Get Plenty of Rest! - Sleep is one of the best defenses against getting sick. During sleep, your body recuperates and regenerates. If you are not rested, you are more suspectible to illness. When you are sick, you need to rest more. You need to conserve your energy to fight the illness. You need to take care of yourself, the rest of the world can wait. It won't stop without you. Cuddle up in bed with a few heavy blankets.

Something else that you can do is open the window while you sleep, to let some fresh air in. House air is usually stale and stuffy, fresh air will let you get a deeper more restful sleep. You don't have to open the window wide - just enough to let some fresh air in.

Breath in Steam - Take a hot steamy shower or bath or put a towel over boiling water or kettle and breath in the hot steam. Not too hot otherwise you could burn yourself. If you can, take a steam bath but make sure that there aren't others there that could get sick from you. This all ties into the whole idea of changing the temperature to battle the cold.

New Tooth Brush! - Replace your tooth brush with a new one or clean your old one in the dishwasher. Your toothbrush can hold the germs and viruses that have been making you sick. Buy a new one or clean the old one. It probably is a good time to replace the old toothbrush anyways.

Antiseptic Throat Lozenges - When they first came out, I thought they were a godsend. They soothed your throat and fought the virus that was causing all the discomfort. BUT now, I don't use them for the same reason that I don't use an antiseptic mouthwash more than once a day. The antiseptic throat lozenges kill the good bacteria in your throat that your body is producing to fight the cold. In my experience, antiseptic throat lozenges worsen my cold and sore throat and weakened my body's defenses. Typically, the sore throat would move down into my larnyx (voice box) and bronchial tubes and I would end up with bronchitis which is no fun. And the cold even moved into my lungs. I avoid antiseptic throat lozenges.

Gargle with Garlic Dill Pickle Juice - Yikes, this sounds horrible? Actually, the juice contains a few key ingredients that will fight and sooth your throat: garlic, dill and vinegar. And surprisingly, the combination actually works!


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Copyright October 2013 - Eugene Blanchard