Tips for Battling the Common Cold

 Tips for Battling the Common Cold

Common Cold

(ARA) - It’s inevitable. With more than 200 viruses known to cause the common cold, sooner or later this year you’ll end up with the telltale sniffles, cough, and scratchy throat of a cold. In fact, statistics show that most adults experience four to six colds each year, with children being even more susceptible -- catching on average nine colds or more. When it comes to battling this unwelcome visitor, Wal-Mart pharmacist Lori Mendoza recommends hand washing as your first line of defense. “Colds come on gradually and spread easily, usually through hand contact or from sneezing and coughing,” she says. “Wash hands frequently and be sure to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth since these are the easiest areas for germs to enter your body.”

Other ways to prevent the spread of the cold are simple:

- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold. Stay away from crowded places. If your child has a cold, wash his or her toys after play to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

- Get plenty of rest. Staying well rested keeps your immune system strong so it can fight off germs. It also helps keep stress at bay, another trigger that can weaken the immune system and make you vulnerable to colds.

- Practice common sense. It sounds simple, and it is. Change washcloths, sponges, and dishtowels on a regular basis. Replace your toothbrush frequently. Clean surfaces you touch with a germ-killing disinfectant.

- Prepare now. Before cold season hits, stock up on the essentials -- nasal decongestant, cough suppressant, tissues, and pain reliever -- so that you are ready at the first signs of a cold.

Despite your best efforts, colds are extremely difficult to prevent entirely. If the cold catches up with you, expect to experience a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, and mild fatigue. These symptoms show up between one and three days after you are infected by a cold virus and typically last for about three days. At that point the worst is over, but you may feel congested for a week or more. While there’s no cure for the common cold, over-the-counter medications can provide temporary relief of symptoms. “As soon as you feel a cold coming on, start treating your symptoms,” said Mendoza. “Adults with a cold might want to start with something as simple as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help body aches.”

For other cold symptoms, like coughing and congestion, Mendoza recommends a nasal decongestant and cough suppressant like DayQuil during the day or NyQuil for nighttime use. And there’s no substitute for bed rest and plenty of fluids to ensure a speedy recovery. Remember, antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, so they won't help your cold. For help choosing the right over-the-counter medications for your cold symptoms, check with your local Wal-Mart pharmacist. If you have unusually severe cold symptoms, high fever, ear pain, or a cough that gets worse while other cold symptoms improve, call your doctor.

Courtesy of ARA Content