Sniff, sniff…..AAATCHOO! You are feeling terrible. Your nose seems to need it’s own water meter. The cough won’t let you sleep. Muscles feel like you ran a marathon, but you didn’t. Forehead hot enough to cook an egg on it. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” You could have taken some steps to prevent it by proper hygiene and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape.
CAUSES OF A COLD:
So what is creating all this disaster in your body? There are a few common culprits. Rhinovirus (latin for “nose virus” – duh!) which is responsible for anywhere from 10%-40% of colds. Thankfully this is usually a nuisance and rarely causes serious illness. The classic coronavirus (the less deadly version of COVID-19 that’s been around forever) is responsible for about 20% of colds, typically spiking in the winter & spring. RSV and its cousin parainfluenza claim about 20% of colds, and can sometimes cause more severe disease such as pneumonia in small kids. Another 20%-30% of colds are caused by the “we have no idea” virus family. Nope, the medical community doesn’t have an answer for every question. Still learning.
MYTHS ABOUT CATCHING A COLD:
How can we not talk about the Myths of catching a cold? If you go from a hot to cold environment you will catch a cold. Don’t sleep under the AC. There was a draft coming in from the window. Going out with wet hair. We have all heard these before, and they simply don’t make sense physiologically, nor is there any scientific evidence to back them up. So why do we get sick during the cold months? Simple: proximity! We spend more time around each other in enclosed spaces during the colder times, therefore more transmission. Other myths include letting the fever “cook the virus”. That is not likely going to offer much help for viruses. Just get the fever down. Antibiotics will help to clear the infection faster. FALSE. Antibiotics do nothing to viruses. You are actually doing damage to yourself. A lot of times people demand antibiotics 3 or 4 days into illness because they are at their wit’s end, and feel better 2 to 3 days later thinking “wow, glad I got that prescription.” Reality is a virus typically runs its course for about 7 days, and your body just needed a couple more days for its immune system to make the magic potion to kill the virus for good. You were going to feel better anyway, WITHOUT the antibiotics. By taking unnecessary antibiotics, you are building up resistant bacteria in your body, so that the next time you actually have a real BACTERIAL infection, the antibiotic will not be effective, creating a dangerous situation for you.
PREVENTING A COLD:
We have all survived the COVID-19 pandemic and are practically experts at this point. One of the best things you can do is have your immune system on high alert to keep you out of trouble to begin with. IV Immune Boost available at Refresh Med Spa L.A. pumps you up with high doses of the supplements your immune system needs to become a powerful, virus killing machine. It’s perfect if you are heading out of town or to a large gathering, such as for the holidays. You should also wash your hands – soap & water are best, if not then alcohol sanitizer. Disinfect your surroundings with dilute bleach or commercially made sprays, especially frequently touched surfaces like doors, knobs, handles, etc. If you’re sneezing, use a tissue and get rid of it immediately, or at the very least, sneeze into your elbow covering your mouth.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR A COLD:
- Consult with your doctor to make sure medications are ok for you to take
- One of the most important things to take is Ibuprofen every 6 hours, even if you don’t have a fever. Why? Viruses tend to cause a generalized inflammatory reaction in your body which is why your muscles and joints hurt, you get a fever, have loss of energy and appetite, and feel like you got run over by a truck. An anti-inflammatory is your magic bullet for all of these symptoms.
- Typically, the associated cough is caused by all the juicy stuff dripping down the back of your throat into your chest. Focus on reducing the upper airway drainage, and there will be less mucus dripping into your chest – and of course, less cough! If you don’t have any contraindications, during the DAYTIME you can take Pseudoephedrine (Must get it directly from the pharmacist – no prescription needed). Because the Pseudoephdrine can keep you awake, do not use it at night. Instead you can use oxymetazoline nasal spray for NIGHT TIME ONLY (also over the counter).
- Make sure to stay hydrated. Between a runny nose, and sweating from fever, you lose a lot of fluid.